Being HIV positive changes a lot over time. A few decades ago, the fact that one person had a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was synonymous with death, while today's high-gen antiretroviral drugs, which allow people to get treatment in order to minimize the virus by being almost imperceptible , that the affected people have the same life chances as a normal person.
The first step to optimizing the quality of life for those who suffer from this disease is early detection. This will ensure that it is subject to appropriate treatments, although it is often difficult due to the fact that it is a slow-acting disease.
"Normally, people realize that they have it years later, so it's important to have a test every six months if they had high-risk sexual intercourse, if not at least every year."
This is proposed by Betania Betances, who through her work as Director of Onusida in the country is responsible for conducting educational campaigns that encourage them to take the appropriate tests without fear of being discriminated against. This is considered one of the country's major barriers, where it is estimated that there are more than 67,000 cases of HIV.
From that number, it is stated that the most exposed populations are men who have sex with same-sex, sex workers and Haitian immigrants.
Regarding young people, it is important to point out that although these tend to care better for themselves than for the general population, cases are rising, especially in low-income communities and young people with low academic levels who sometimes refuse to use methods barrier contraceptives and opt for tablets and injections.
Clarifies the fact that the fact of subjecting the couple to a test to determine if they have the virus is not always a feasible technique because the immune system does not respond immediately so that the person who is now infected with the virus can test tomorrow or a few days later and leave the negative.
The waiting time of the immune system to answer is exactly at least three months. "Therefore, the use of any kind of barrier and establishing trust with the other person before starting sex is fundamental," he says, noting that although many believe that male circumcision can be an effective method for not dealing with the disease, it only reduces the likelihood, but it is certainly not one hundred percent.
It attributes cases of AIDS to young people on the lack of guidelines that exist in schools and universities, as well as the small amount of government funding targeted to raising awareness campaigns.
It considers that in general terms, there is adequate support from public hospitals for the affected persons. However, it is still a taboo in society, so the treatment they receive from others is usually exclusive.
Onusida is a program developed in cooperation with the United Nations for the treatment of HIV / AIDS. On this occasion, they focused on helping the Dominican Republic eliminate the disease as a public health problem by 2030 with regard to the goals of the people who are on therapy as soon as possible, with combined prevention and elimination of the problems of discrimination
"In the case of prevention, the problem lies in the fact that greater responsibility is needed to increase prevention and that condoms and antiretroviruses are offered to people at risk," says Bettans, who has worked for more than 27 years. this type of case.
His interest emerged from the degree of a master's degree in sexuality education when the disease is still considered a fatal condition that can be attacked by everyone.
Then she joined the Onusida program as a volunteer, working on research and looking at what can be done to achieve positive change.
Shortly thereafter, he realized that his work could not be limited to a master's degree, but something that should continue to be done to provide a better life for these patients who suffer so much, who even die only from depression.
Today, from the outside, your biggest lesson in life when dealing with these cases is that no matter what you do, you should always put the human side first. "We, as people, have to put ourselves in the patients' shoes to understand and to be interested in their diseases. It will even help us motivate them to seek help, not just to try to help them, because we think that is our duty ".