Treatments against HIV have changed the landscape of the disease in recent years.
Dr. Jorge Santana Bagur, director of the ACTU project of the Medical Sciences Campus. Photo: archive of the Medicine and Public Health Magazine.
Management of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has had a notable pharmacological evolution that has been beneficial both for the medical community and for patients and the general population.
Today many specialists agree that a person does not die of HIVbut of some complication associated with the progression of the virus if it is not under treatment or due to someone else’s disease, and this has been due to the current treatments that have allowed the survival of diagnosed patients to be prolonged.
In this regard, Dr. Jorge Santana Bagur, director of the ACTU project at the Medical Sciences Campus, has demonstrated over the years the advances in research against HIV.
From more than 15 pills to only 1 daily: evolution of HIV treatment
“I have been able to see the natural evolution of the disease from the time when we hardly had drugs and they were very toxic, to what we see today that is only one pill a day and then with an injection every 4 to 8 weeks you can see people suppressed without the circulating virus, without transmission in the community and with an excellent quality of life”, he highlighted.
In addition, he added that “we were involved in the management of opportunistic conditions at that time, we did not know how to treat them in this scenario of patients with HIV“.
“We have evolved from having to give 15, 16 or 17 tablets a day distributed every six hours to one pill a day. Currently, with an intramuscular injection and in the future the subcutaneous implant that will last six months. The difference is heaven to earth”.
ACTU Project, a reference in research against HIV/AIDS in Puerto Rico
The specialist has been part of the Puerto Rican studies focused on the identification and eradication of the virus. Through the ACTU project, the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit, or AIDS Clinical Research Unit, has led analyzes that provide important findings to the international medical community to develop therapeutic alternatives against HIV.
“We have been active in Puerto Rico for 28 years, it is a project subsidized by the national HIV health laboratories. It has been a very interesting experience,” said Dr. Bagur.
From the ACTU project they continue to develop research for the new drugs that are being developed and the cells that interfere in the development of the virus.
They recently completed a study on the identification of monoclonal antibodies in patients with HIVthese became a treatment, they could stimulate the immune system to kill off any viral replication without the need for pills.
“The future is bright for patients, above all. Patients appreciate the new advances because each morning they take the pill they are reminded that they have HIV/AIDS and it is a psychological burden that is still there”, he concluded.
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) indicated that the HIV It remains one of the biggest public health problems worldwide. Currently, 37.7 million people living with HIVOf these, 36 million are adults and 1.7 million are children up to 14 years of age.
In 2020, 650,000 people died from causes related to the HIV and 1.5 million people contracted the virus.
In Puerto Rico, 2,503 cases have been registered and so far in 2022, 247 new cases of HIVbeing the male population the largest infected.