40 years after the discovery of HIV, where are we today?

40 years after the discovery of HIV, where are we today?

Thierry Martin is the director of the AIDS Prevention Platform and is well placed to answer the question about the state of the disease in Belgium : In terms of the number of cases, the situation is moving in the right direction for us since 2021, we have tested about 800 people with HIV. So for four or five years, it’s been down about 25%, which is the first time in a very, very long time. Unfortunately, the level is still high because 800 cases is 800 cases too much, and more than two people are affected daily.

Who is affected? What we see is that MSM, with immigrant backgrounds, continue to be highly affected by HIV because these two categories account for approximately 75% of infections. But we’re also seeing a resurgence, particularly among Belgian gays, and also among slightly older people. And so it is also important to adapt our prevention strategies to reach the most vulnerable. But thanks to the diversity of prevention tools and the arrival of preventative treatment in particular, we can see that we have succeeded in limiting the epidemic. However, there is still a long way to go.

Today, what has especially developed is the treatment of this disease. Between the treatments that were around in the ’80s and the ones that exist today, it really is day and night : In fact, when I started working, in the early ’90s, with a young man who tested positive for HIV, the only message I could tell him was, unfortunately, a very negative message since at that time, announcing seropositivity was announcing a death on the run averageAnd Remembers Thierry Martin.

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Whereas today, since the arrival of triple therapies in 96-97, we have really succeeded in preventing the multiplication of the virus in the body, to the point where it has become undetectable and unacceptable, that is, the person will remain. have HIV but the amount of virus in their body is so low that they will no longer pass it on to another person. It is a real revolution compared to this disease that is sometimes little known.. “

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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