Not just Covid. Good news comes from another front, much older but still relevant. It has been 40 years since, on June 5, 1981, in the weekly bulletin published by the Centers for Diseases Control (Cdc), doctors from some hospitals in Los Angeles reported the diagnosis of Pneumocystis Carinii pneumonia in 5 homosexual males who simultaneously showed signs clinical and laboratory tests suggestive of severe immune deficiency. Those doctors did not know it, but they were describing the first cases of AIDS, the disease that from then on would mark the history of modern and contemporary medicine.
Advances in science
In these 40 years, a long way has been made in the scientific field, so much so that currently, in countries where there is the possibility of having access to anti-HIV therapy, the life expectancy of a person with HIV is not so different from an HIV negative age match. We have come so far, that today we see the concrete possibility of putting an end to AIDS: “End Aids, Hiv free”.
In our region
“In Piedmont the epidemic appears to be slightly but steadily decreasing – explains Dr. Giancarlo Orofino, first level medical director with high specialization in Infectious and Tropical Diseases of the Amedeo di Savoia hospital in Turin -. A few years ago it was said that almost every day a person discovered he had HIV infection, today the numbers tell us about 130 new cases in 2019, with a decrease of about 20% compared to the previous year. The merit lies above all in the ability of the therapy, correctly assumed, to act as a “prophylaxis” towards other people: it is the concept of U = U (undetectable = untransmittable), a statement that is based on solid scientific foundations. Thanks to this, for example, pediatric HIV is over ».
The value of prevention
The problem is that more than 50% of those diagnosed with the disease are already in an advanced stage, therefore it is necessary to increase the ability to make early diagnosis, acting on the offer (doctors must promote more with their patients the execution of the HIV test), and by acting on the demand, with information campaigns that also know how to exploit the new means of contact between people, i.e. social networks, to undergo the HIV test regularly.
The information campaign
Meanwhile (2 October 2020), Turin has joined the Fast Track cities project, an international network between metropolitan cities that puts the fight against HIV and Hcv among its health priorities. An awareness campaign is planned that starts from the first 40 years of AIDS and a large project (in collaboration with the ever-lively associations and activism linked to this epidemic) which should lead to the organization of a check point in the area where the test. Along this line, a scientific project (Hiv-Hcv free.it) of collaboration between specialists and general practitioners will also be launched on 5 June.
A move that makes people talk
Meanwhile, the ASL City of Turin has decided to move the Center for sexual health from the Ophthalmic hospital, where it occupied premises specially refurbished two years ago, to the Amedeo di Savoia. «Unhappy decision and, given the new location, stigmatizing – comments the regional councilor of the Democratic Party Daniele Valle -. The Ophthalmologist liked the solution for the multidisciplinary approach (psychologist, andrologist, gynecologist, proctologist, etc.) which is now feared to be lost ».