It is called #tiriguarda the campaign against AIDS launched by Anlaids – National Association for the fight against AIDS on 27 November, which will close with World Day on 1 December. In Italy there are 130,000 people who are positive for the HIV virus, 37 million instead in the world.

On the occasion of the week of prevention and awareness of HIV and AIDS, we talked about it with Prof. Carlo Selmi, Head of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology at Humanitas.

AIDS: a disease that still affects

In recent years, awareness and also fear of HIV and AIDS infection seems to have decreased, despite this, the numbers tell of a still worrying and not decreasing phenomenon that leads to the death of about one million people each year: “The cases of confirmed disease are constant – explained Selmi – and especially the new diagnoses of HIV positive infection and new cases are found in subjects who are already in an advanced state.

“The message that is important to pass – said the professor – is that we must keep high the suspicion, both in patients and in colleagues doctors and specialists” to avoid that some symptoms are underestimated and encourage appropriate screening.

An example of this is “the initial reductions in white blood cells. In these cases we also owe it to HIV: sometimes it is difficult to deal with this speech with the patient, because in them a defense mechanism is triggered, but we must do so both to maintain good care for the patient and for the health, in general, of the population,” added the professor.

“The message is to take care of it, let’s not be disinterested or underestimated”, reiterated Selmi.

Treating and researching the HIV virus

For years, research has aimed to find a vaccine capable of fighting AIDS, but “it is still a long way off, while from a therapeutic point of view huge steps have been taken: the antrivetroviral therapy – which consists of a combination of drugs – while not killing the HIV virus, stops its replication by avoiding multiplication, reducing viral load and consequently avoiding the destruction of the immune system,” concluded the professor.