The detection of new cases of HIV dropped 25% in the country in 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. There were 32,700 new cases last year against 43,300 in the previous year.
The data are from the HIV/AIDS Epidemiological Bulletin 2021, presented during the launch of the campaign to combat HIV/AIDS. The event took place at the Ministry of Health this Wednesday (1st), World Day to Fight AIDS.
Gerson Pereira, director of the Department of Chronic Diseases and Sexually Transmitted Infections, said the reduction in detection of new HIV cases was expected because of the pandemic.
According to Pereira, the Ministry of Health strove not to harm the treatment of patients during the pandemic. Among the measures, there was the prescription of medication for a longer period of time and the use of telemedicine.
“We had a reduction in relation to new cases and we made a superhuman effort in this pandemic so that we could not only diagnose, but treat cases. We used to prescribe medication for 30 days, today we prescribe it for 90 days. many patients receiving medication for 90 days,” he said.
Despite the reduction in total, the detection of new cases of HIV in pregnant women increased by 30.3% in the period. There were 7.8 thousand cases in 2020.
For Pereira, these data can be seen in a positive way, because, in his view, they show that more women are undergoing prenatal care and can be treated before delivery. In this way, it is possible to avoid vertical contamination (from mother to baby), for example.
The data presented also show a drop in the detection of new cases in children up to five years old.
Arnaldo Medeiros, Secretary of Health Surveillance at the Ministry of Health, highlighted that the reduction in cases in children shows the effort of the Ministry of Health in relation to the issue.
“We are living a pandemic year and we are aware of all the commercial difficulties, but the government guaranteed treatment and diagnosis for all people who take retroviral treatment. This is the government’s commitment to life,” he said.
Pereira also presented data from a historical series from 2010 to 2020 on AIDS. Figures show that 69.5% of cases are in men and 30.2% in women. Regarding age, 52.9% occur in people aged 20 to 34 years.
In Brazil, 694,000 people are being treated for HIV/Aids.
“Treatment is a preventive measure. From the moment you start treatment, three months later it is undetectable [o vírus]. Being undetectable, it has a minimal possibility of transmitting HIV”, highlighted Pereira.
Socorro Gross, representative of PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) in Brazil, praised the work that Brazil has done over the years in relation to the topic. For her, it is important that diagnosis and treatment are quick.
“Brazil has opened the doors for all countries and organized groups to really fight for treatment,” he said. “[Hoje] we have the opportunity for a person to have the same life expectancy and quality that people have.”
as showed the sheet, four decades after the beginning of the AIDS epidemic and the advance in prevention and treatment therapies, stigma and discrimination are still part of the daily lives of most people living with HIV in Brazil.
A study by Unaids (United Nations program on HIV/AIDS) with 1,784 HIV-positive people shows that 64% have already suffered some type of discrimination: 46% through comments from family, neighbors and friends, 25% through verbal harassment and 20% arrived to have lost source of income or were rejected in a job offer.
The data enabled the creation of a stigma index in relation to people living with HIV/AIDS. About 15% of respondents report having suffered discrimination in health services in the 12 months prior to the survey, which was carried out in seven Brazilian capitals in 2019.
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