HIV people now live as diabetes, asthma patients, Dr. Kaloyan Kukov says

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Medical progress over the past 30 years gives us a good reason to say on December 1st – World AIDS Day that nowadays the virus does not threaten human life the way it did years ago. The new and modern treatment controls HIV and even allows sexual contacts, seriously decreasing the risk of transmitting the disease to your partner. These are the new medical conclusions, recently declared by consultants of the HIV Prevention Program, funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. According to experts, if one discovers the infection at an early stage and begins therapy immediately, the latter affects the spreading of the virus. When it doesn’t multiply, the virus ‘hides’ in the lymph nodes. Thus the possibility for sexual transmission of the disease is limited to the minimum. Doctors say that it’s all up to the patient’s immune system and the level of infection, while the treatment usually works in the course of 3 – 4 months. “Now the taking of only one combined pill is enough for the treatment of AIDS,” says Prof. Tatyana Chervenyakova. She adds that currently there are different serious chronic and severe diseases that can result in heavier health issues. Things have changed in their roots for HIV over the past years. “When the virus was discovered in the early 1980s the disease was considered lethal. Now we cope with the infection for a long period of time. One can live with the illness, as long as he or she adheres to the medical treatment,” Prof. Chervenyakova goes on to say.

According to data of the healthcare ministry, the newly discovered cases in Bulgaria for 2017 come up to 220 HIV-positive people versus the over 260,000 persons examined. The trend from the last years is preserved – the number of men registered exceeds that of women and 12% have been infected through drug injections. A total of 2,694 people with HIV have been registered in this country in the period 1986 – 2017, or around 1% of the population, which causes no serious worry about a large-scale spreading of the disease. “The ones infected tend to turn to some sort of self-discrimination and find it hard to look for the help of experts,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Kaloyan Kukov from the St. Marina Hospital. His professional experience shows that the return of these patients to normal life is a long process. “It requires a complex approach, seizing the bio-psychological functioning of a person,” Dr. Kukov explains.

Once again this year December 1st is a good occasion to remind of all preventive measures for protection against HIV. First comes the safe sex piece of advice, followed by the ban of venous drug abuse. Patient should report any suspicions to their GP. Finally, let’s recall the words of Dr. Kukov, saying that “life with HIV nowadays doesn’t actually differ a lot from life with diabetes, asthma or any other chronic disease.”

English version: Zhivko Stanchev

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