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AIDS at 40: The major advances and the challenges that remain – Fresno, California

Fresno, California 2021-06-05 03:50:58 –

Los Angeles–It’s been 40 years since the first report that identified what is now recognized as AIDS was published. Behind the groundbreaking report was a group of researchers at UCLA.

Much progress has been made since then, but stigma remains.

Raif Derrazi, who celebrated his 27th birthday in 2012, was dying after denying that he was infected with HIV.

“It went on to AIDS, which means I was basically knocking on the door of death,” he said.

AIDS is a rare diagnosis in modern Los Angeles. But 40 years ago, before the disease was named, it was a mysterious disease that struck young gay men across the country. Each case was part of a puzzle, but we couldn’t put it together until a group of UCLA immunological researchers had an aha experience.

Dr. Michael Gottlieb of APLA Health said: This patient was one of five men with an opportunistic infection called Pneumocystis pneumonia.

This type of pneumonia wasn’t new, but Gottlieb and his UCLA colleagues knew that it rarely occurred in people with an intact immune system. After performing many highly specialized tests on their immune system, unexplained parts became apparent.

“A type of blood cell called a helper T cell or CD4 cell has been essentially lost,” says Gottlieb. “They are important cells of the immune system. (Anthony) Dr. Fauci once called them conductors of immunology orchestras. The immune system does not work well without them.”

Gottlieb and his fellow researchers recorded their findings at landmarks. CDC report. I first explained what was later called AIDS.

“We knew the enemy and knew what its characteristics were,” he said.

In 1984, the virus that causes AIDS was officially named the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). It spread rapidly to the gay community, but it’s not the only one.

Heterosexuals account for 24% of cases in the United States today, and HIV, like COVID-19, has an imbalanced impact on the colored community.

Organization like Appla Health Established to help patients fight both stigma and illness.

“The prognosis for HIV today is dramatically different from that of the 1980s,” said Gottlieb.

“My doctor was kind, kind, and loving. That day he prescribed me medicine, and within 6-9 months my immune system was completely full. It’s 180. Now I’m healthier than ever, said Deradi.

HIV has not stopped Deradi from becoming a professional bodybuilder. Forty years ago, antiretroviral drugs would have been considered a miracle.

But the Holy Grail, the HIV vaccine, remains elusive.

“HIV is a much more unwieldy virus than COVID-19,” Gottlieb said. “It has a much more complex way to get into cells and circumvent the immune system.”

However, scientists have worked on preventative measures such as pre-exposure prophylaxis known as PrEP. This is a pill that blocks HIV infection in the user.

And the discovery, or the discovery that HIV patients taking their medication can reach undetectable viral levels, which can become “uninfectious”, or U = U.

“Undetectable is equal to untransmissible,” Delaji said. “If you are not detected, you cannot sexually infect others with HIV.”

But vaccines are not the only obstacle. Just as science has advanced, people’s attitudes are not.

“We feel that stigma is the last major hurdle that society must overcome for us living with HIV, and for our loved ones living with HIV,” said Terrazi. ..

“We need a role model, which means people talk about their diagnosis and don’t willing to move forward,” says Derrazi.

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