Bellvitge University Hospital hosted on March 29th the 25 years anniversary of support and treatment of HIV-infected patients in Catalonia. The event was coorganized with the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias I Pujol.

Celebration of the 25 years anniversary of support and treatment of HIV-infected patients in Catalonia

The event was opened by: Nuria Marin, Mayor of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Dr. Antoni Plasencia, CEO of Public Health of the Department of Health, Dr Jordi Ara, director of University Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Dr.Alberto Salazar, medical director of the HUB, and Dr. Antoni Trilla, chief of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona.

Also intervened as presenters and moderators Dr. Joseph M. Gatell, chief of the Infectious Diseases of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Dr. Bonaventura Clotet, chief of the HIV unit of the University Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol and director of the Institute for AIDS Research IrsiCaixa, and Dr.Daniel Podzamczer head of the HIV unit of the University Hospital of Bellvitge.

The lectures were given by Mr. Ferran Pujol, director of Hispanosida, who spoke on the history of the disease from the patient´s perspective, and Mr. Josep Corbella, a journalist from La Vanguardia, who spoke about the epidemic from the the media point of view.

Finally, Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV / AIDS (Vancouver) and former president of the International AIDS Society, gave a lecture entitled antiretroviral treatment as a weapon to reduce the epidemic, in which he discussed how prevention of the infection remains a problem of first magnitude in the world, including Western countries. And also how an early diagnosis and treatment represents a fundamental benefit not only for individual patients but for the evolution of the epidemic, because it would mean an important brake on the transmission of the virus.

Although the first cases of what would later be called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome dates from 1981, it was not until the large outbreak of 1986 that health care professionals began to specialize in cares for these patients.

At the same time, was also launched the largest effort in history to find a way of preventing and curing a disease. Thus in 1987 appeared the first antiretroviral drug, and less than ten years later, in 1996, in what can be considered the most spectacular medical advance achieved against a pandemic, HIV became a chronic disease with a good life quality for well controlled patients.

However, the fact that the number of new cases remain stable today, is a reminder that we need to improve the extent and effectiveness of preventive interventions, and we must continue working on finding a vaccine and new treatments,with fewer side effects, that can enhance and complement existing ones.

May 2011

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