World Leaders to Meet to Fight HIV / AIDS

8-10 of June 2021, the United Nations will hold a high-level meeting on HIV and AIDS. World leaders will discuss the results of work on combating the spread of HIV / AIDS over the past 5 years. The meeting is timed to the 25th anniversary of UNAIDS and the 40th anniversary of the registration of the first case of HIV infection.

UNAIDS is currently developing a new global AIDS strategy for 2021-2026. The final draft strategy will be considered for adoption by the UNAIDS Coordinating Council in March 2021. The new global HIV / AIDS strategy will include new targets that will reduce the number of people living with HIV for the first time to 370,000 by 2025 and reduce the number of people dying from AIDS-related diseases to 250,000.

Scientists from Argentina have found a second person who managed to cure HIV naturallyScientists from Argentina have found a second person who managed to cure HIV naturally

A group of Harvard scientists at a large international meeting of HIV experts announced that a second human being had been found in Argentina to have defeated HIV on its own. She became a 30-year-old resident of Esperance, who has been battling the disease for more than eight years. The name of the Argentine is not specified - we only know that she was diagnosed in 2013, and her boyfriend died of AIDS.

The first patient who was able to overcome HIV was 67-year-old Lorin Willenberg from San Francisco, according to The Times.

Scientists believe that these cases will help bring the creation of drugs for 38 million people living with the virus that causes AIDS.

"Finding one patient with this natural ability to functionally treat the virus is good, but finding two ... means a lot more. This means that there should be more such people. This is a significant step forward in the world of HIV research, ”said the patient's doctor and HIV researcher from Buenos Aires.

Two women, Esperance and Willenberg, found themselves in a rare group of people called elite controllers who had never taken antiretroviral therapy to fight the virus and had no signs of the virus in their blood.

In 1995, researchers found out why HIV manages to return, even when it seems defeated. The virus "buries" part of itself in the body's hidden reservoirs, remaining inactive, leaving something like a "backup".

Doctors still do not know how to get to these hidden parts of the virus. The most promising approach may be the "shock and kill" method - to remove the virus from the shelter and destroy it. But researchers do not yet know how to wake him up without harming the patient. But for one in 200 elite controllers, much of the virus settles in inactive pieces of DNA known as "gene deserts" without causing any harm. The virus that remains there is removed by the body's immune system.

Vaccination against COVID-19: what you need to know about PLHIV who are going to be vaccinated

COVID-19 is a serious disease, so all people should take the recommended preventive measures to prevent infection with the virus. Vaccination and how safe the vaccine is for people living with HIV are now being hotly debated. Due to the specifics of ARV therapy and the peculiarities of the immune system, PLHIV raises many questions about the health safety of the vaccines used. Lyudmyla Kolomiychuk, a consultant with the Tuberculosis and HIV / AIDS Hotline and an infectious disease doctor, told how to properly prepare for vaccination and why it is important to continue taking ART.

Who is more vulnerable to COVID-19?

Older people living with HIV, or people living with HIV with heart and lung problems, may be at higher risk of contracting the virus and have more severe symptoms. All people living with HIV should see their doctors to stock up on basic medicines.

Does vaccination against COVID-19 provide benefits for people living with HIV?

For people living with HIV, the COVID-19 vaccine has the same benefits as everyone else: it prevents a serious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus and potentially prevents the spread of the virus. However, as long as its prevalence among the population does not fall to a very low level, it is recommended to follow preventive measures (social distance, frequent hand washing, wearing masks) even after vaccination.

Should people living with HIV be vaccinated against COVID-19?

You need to be vaccinated, because COVID-19 is a dangerous infectious disease that has many complications during the course of the disease and after recovery.

It is important to test for COVID-19 antibody titers before vaccination if a person has relapsed to COVID-19 (especially if asymptomatic). And if this titer is high, especially for the titer of antibodies to IgG, it is better to postpone vaccination.

It is also important to remember that if a person's CD4 level is less than 200 cells, immunity is much worse, plus in severe immunodeficiency, when a person has a number of opportunistic diseases and it is in the process of treatment, of course, vaccination can not be . Theoretically, vaccination against COVID-19 is possible with low levels of diabetes (more than 200 cells) in the absence of opportunistic diseases, just the probability that the immune system will be much lower.

Why should PLHIV continue to receive ART?

Taking ART for people living with HIV is very important, because first of all it is a highly effective treatment that can significantly improve the health of people living with HIV and inhibit the reproduction of HIV in the body. ART helps maintain immunity and significantly reduces the risk of opportunistic infections. Proper ART intake is especially important in the COVID-19 pandemic, because the higher the level of CD4 cells (which is achieved through proper ART intake) in humans, the better the immune response to other diseases.

A regional online conference dedicated to the presentation of the global report on AIDS for 2020 "Overcoming the pandemic: putting people's interests in the spotlight"

On March 1, 2021, a regional online conference dedicated to the presentation of the Global AIDS Report 2020 "Overcoming the Pandemic: Putting People's Interests in Focus" (Eastern Europe and Central Asia) was held, which became a platform for joint review of social and legal conditions in the region. to achieve the goals.

According to regional statistics, the treatment cascade of 90-90-90 in the regions is still far from being achieved and is rather 70-44-41. The reason for this indicator is considered to be late diagnosis - 53% of all new HIV / AIDS diagnoses in 2019 in the region were made at late stages.

It is noted that among the tasks of UNAIDS for 2025, much more attention is paid to social factors. But to achieve these goals, a new regulatory framework, laws, principles and educational campaigns are needed to eliminate stigma and discrimination, empower and stop marginalizing people at high risk of infection.

Thus, the report drew attention to the fact that in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the situation with the legislation still does not meet the conditions that would help to eradicate the infection and stop the pandemic. And although the criminal code has changed in many countries, discriminatory laws are changing very slowly.

Recordings of the presentation in Russian and English and all other materials from the speeches can be viewed here.

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