One in three people with HIV in Latin America does not know they have the disease



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One in three people living with HIV in Latin America do not know it, mainly due to the stigma that this disease has and that there is no culture of prevention, said Carlos Magis of the National Center for the Prevention and Control of HIV / AIDS (Censida).

"There is still a delay in diagnosis, despite the fact that today a person diagnosed and treated in a timely manner has a high life expectancy", said Magis, director of integral care of Censida.

The doctor explained that with current treatments, the life expectancy is 40 years in people infected with this virus.

Brenda Crabtree Ramirez, local president of the International AIDS Society (AIDS), said that Violence, stigma and inequality in access to prevention and information have become the most important obstacles to overcome.

"It is a fact that as long as we do not fight against it, the AIDS epidemic can not be effectively attacked", he said.

Experts said that among People who have less detection are mostly heterosexual men and elderly people.

"Especially in this last group, they are slow to realize that they are at risk because there is a great stigma about this disease", said Juan Sierra, head of the infectious disease department of the Mexican Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubirán.

In Mexico, according to data from Censida, just over 141,000 people are currently undergoing retroviral treatment and since 1996 mortality has decreased, although there are still 5,000 deaths per year for this disease.

"With the treatments we offer at the Ministry of Health, patients have been improved and 51% of those diagnosed and treated reduce viral load at six months "said Magis.

He added that one of the shortcomings that the region has is that pharmacy exams are not yet available to the population, which in countries like the United States are available to anyone who wants to take a quick test.

He added that reducing treatment costs would be very useful in countries such as Mexico, where Expenditures on HIV treatment charge one-third of the Seguro Popular's catastrophic expense fund.

"Public policies should aim to improve access to treatment and one of the options is to reduce costs, consolidate drug purchases and allow more drugs to reach Mexico, "he said.

He explained that in regions like Africa, the cost of treatment is $ 100 per year, thanks to the fact that the therapy is based on generic retrovirals; while in Mexico, the cost is $ 2,000 for relying on proprietary remedies.

Sierra said that the patient with HIV in Mexico, in addition to stigma and discrimination, must face a hostile health system to follow the treatment.

"Unfortunately, we have a fragmented health system and this is not very useful for people who have diseases that should be treated for a lifetime. At times, institutions are a barrier to the continuity necessary in the treatment of HIV"he said.

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