A Look At The Development Of HIV / AIDS | PRESENT

In Puerto Rico, 49,889 cases of people with HIV / AIDS have been diagnosed since the beginning of the epidemic in the 1980s, of which 29,396 have died for a mortality rate of 59%, according to the recent report of the Program of Surveillance of the Office of Epidemiology and Research of the Department of Health.

However, so far this year 254 new cases and six deaths have been reported, for a 2% mortality rate, reported the epidemiologist of the HIV / AIDS Surveillance Program, Gladys Girona Lozada, who added that in 2018 there were 451 new diagnoses and 25 deaths.

"In the last 10 years we have constantly seen that new diagnoses of cases per year have decreased," said the expert, who explained that these statistics also include those diagnosed who have moved from the Island.


The program's recent report – which includes data through September 30 – showed that of the 29,396 deaths reported since the beginning of the epidemic, 29,060 were adults or teenagers and 336 children under 13.

“Those 29,000 have died from all causes, meaning that number is the people with HIV / AIDS who diagnosed that they have died. Many times in the diagnosis at the time of death, they put you who died from a respiratory failure or from a certain disease that maybe is due to HIV or maybe it was an accident. So it is for all ca uses, ”explained Girona in an interview with EL VOCERO.

The report reveals that of those 49,889 people, 49,203 were adults or teenagers and 686 children under 13 years of age at the time of diagnosis. He also notes that, of the 49,203 adults or adolescents, 11,250 had HIV infection, 12,533 were diagnosed with "AIDS – Immunologic" and 25,420 cases were "AIDS-All others".

In the case of children under 13, 144 had HIV infection, 84 "AIDS – Immunologic" and 458 cases were "AIDS – All others". The breakdown of cases by age and sex shows that 37,060 of the patients diagnosed are men and 12,829 are women.

“AIDS is already considered as part of HIV. AIDS is called stage 3 or stage 3 of the disease when it is already quite complicated. There is a definition of HIV that is according to the CD4 cell – which are the cells that protect us – and if those cells are small in less than 200, that is what they called immunological (AIDS – Immunologic) ”, said Girona.

In that sense, he mentioned that the term "AIDS – All others" refers specifically to specific diseases in people who have HIV and "that having the immune system suppressed gives them those specific diseases such as cancers, herpes, and so on." .

Girona said the statistics in the case of minors are from 1980 to 2010. “95% of those cases were because the mother with HIV was passing it through what is known as perinatal transmission. The majority – almost 100% of these children, many of them grown up – were infected through the mother, but since 2010 we have not seen any cases, ”he said.

More infections in men

The report reflects that older cases of HIV / AIDS have been reported in people between 25 and 34 years old. Specifically, 12,980 men and 4,471 women. In turn, 49,751 of the cases were reported in patients identified as Hispanic of all races.

Regarding the way in which they were infected, it is established that the highest reported cases were by use of injectable drugs (20,521), by heterosexual relationships (14,378) and by sexual contact from man to man (10,271).

The rest of the cases were due to hemophilia disorder; receipt of blood, components or tissues; diagnosed perinatal or HIV exposure; another reported risk factor; or the form of contagion is unknown.

“A person can be infected by contact with another person that includes fluid exchange, which can be blood or body fluids. If the person has an injury to the anus or the vagina, it is more likely to have the disease, ”he added.

"Another very important thing now is that if the person with HIV is on antiretroviral treatment and their viral load is suppressed – which means that the virus is not detected in the blood – it has a very low percentage, it has almost 0% of transmit the disease, ”he said.

How to prevent it?

Girona explained that one of the ways to avoid contagion is by using prophylactic when having sex or preexposure prophylaxis pills (PrEP), which is a medication that is approved for people who do not have the disease and are at high risk .

“It is important that all HIV patients are treated immediately that they are diagnosed and that they follow their treatment regimen so that they can live a quality of life like any other person. That is why deaths have decreased, ”he said.