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Cuban epidemiologist highlights actions in the fight against HIV/AIDS

Cuba should be proud of its achievements against the HIV-AIDS epidemic, but it is still necessary to act to encourage safe sexual practices and avoid infection, epidemiologist Luis Estruch said.


8 de diciembre de 2017 - Taken from Prensa Latina

Cuba should be proud of its achievements against the HIV-AIDS epidemic, but it is still necessary to act to encourage safe sexual practices and avoid infection, epidemiologist Luis Estruch said.

The professor emeritus of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) pointed out in statements to Prensa Latina that the island is among the countries with less prevalence of the virus in the world but the epidemic has claimed more than 4,200 deaths since the 80s.

Estruch, who was vice minister of Public Health (MINSAP) for several years attending the field of Hygiene and Epidemiology, indicated that there are currently more than 23,000 people with the disease on the island and about 1,000 new cases detected each year.

These data indicate that the epidemic is still present in the country, he warned.

'We must continue to create awareness because AIDS still circulates and is an evil that has no cure,' he urged.

'We must prevent, promote safe sex and concentrate all efforts on reaching young people and adolescents,' the doctor insisted.

The expert recalled that in Cuba more than 75 percent of the epidemic is concentrated in the male population, with a greater proportion among homosexuals.

We must speak without taboos to promote safe sexual practices in all citizens, whether heterosexual or LGBT people, Estruch recommended.

In addition, he called for the inclusion of senior citizens in educational projects to prevent AIDS.

'We have infected cases with 80 years of age so we say that HIV has no face and no age, we just have to protect ourselves and try to live with much safer,' he added. According to the Public Health Ministry (Minsap), the number of Cubans infected with the virus until October 31 represents 83 percent of the total number diagnosed on the island since the beginning of the epidemic in the middle of the 80s.

From January 1 to October 31 of this year 1,889 new cases were diagnosed, three more than in the same period of 2016, of them 80.5 percent men compared to 19.5 percent women, for an average age of 35.5 years.

For Minsap, an important achievement is systematic medical care, which guarantees antiretroviral coverage to 86 percent of people in need, which they expect to expand to 90 percent by 2020.

Cuba maintains a combined strategy of five antiretrovirals manufactured in the country with other imported antiretrovirals, certified by the World Health Organization (WHO).

This therapy aims at keeping the levels of the virus low in the blood and to control its multiplication, in this way the patient does not present complications and must remain stable.

Another of Cuba's most important achievements in relation to AIDS is the elimination at the national level of its transmission from mothers to children, a milestone certified two years ago by the WHO.


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