Donini: “Continuing to inform and raise awareness is important to combat late diagnoses and prejudices”
The regional health service’s communication campaign “The Positive Side” to fight stigma and raise awareness of the importance of getting tested. Throughout Emilia-Romagna many initiatives are planned
November 29, 2023 – Inform and get informed can make a difference, especially when talking about HIV infection.
In Emilia Romagnain the lasts 17 yearsthere has been a steady decline in the number of people contracting it: in 2022 the cases recorded were 162against i 368 of the 2006about the 56% less. A halving that affects both men and women and which represents, overall, an important result.
Subtraction but alta – in 2022 56% of cases – the percentage of those who reach one late HIV diagnosisthat is, diagnosed people HIV positive who already had acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (Aids) or with a number of CD4 lymphocytes – the white blood cells responsible for the body’s immune response – low, less than 350 cells/mm (a healthy person has an average CD4 count that varies between 500 and 1,200).
For this reason also this year, on the occasion of the World AIDS Dayil 1st Decemberthe Emilia Romagna regiontogether with Regional health service and HelpAids and in collaboration with Arcigay, Trans APS Group and Plus Odvpromotes the awareness and communication campaign “Bright side” (https://www.helpaids.it/il-lato-positivo). With an important message: “I love my life even with HIV. Thanks to the test I am in therapy and I do not transmit the infection.” To banish stereotypes or prejudicesto inform about the importance of undergoing the test – anonymous, simple and free – and to arrive, in the event, at one early diagnosis and to timely management which, through the therapy antiretroviral, not only can save lives, but can protect quality of the life it is possible to lead.
The initiative gives continuity to the message U equal U (U=U), which literally means “Undetectable=Untransmittable”, or “Undetectable = Untransmittable”: people on antiretroviral therapy who have achieved stable virological suppression do not transmit the HIV virus. It is international sloganbased on scientific evidence, adopted to defend the rights of people with HIV on antiretroviral therapy.
“The constant decrease that continues to be recorded in the number of people who contract HIV infection every year is extremely important, but it cannot be enough to make us feel satisfied, not while a spread of the virus exists, and too many people still discover they have it contracted late – underlines the regional councilor for health policies, Raffaele Donini-. This is why this year too, like every year, as a Region we are on the front line, together with our regional public health and voluntary associations, to raise awareness among citizens: because information can make the difference. Knowing allows us to prevent the risk of contracting the virus, makes us aware of the need to undergo regular testing, which, if necessary, allows us to reach an early diagnosis, timely treatment, protecting ourselves and others. Knowing, it’s important to remember, can save your life.”
Initiatives for World AIDS Day
Test day in squares and hospital buildings, meetings open to citizens, training for operators of associations that assist HIV-positive people. On the occasion of World AIDS Day there are numerous initiatives promoted throughout the regional territory by the Healthcare companies and hospitals also in collaboration with associations, local authorities, schools and pharmacies. The objective is to inform citizens about the disease and raise awareness regarding the adoption of good practices useful for avoiding the risk of contagion and the importance, for people who have a sexually active lifeOf take the test periodically (program attached).
L’Hiv in Emilia-Romagna
In Emilia-Romagna in 2022according to data provided by Collective prevention and public health sector of the Regionhave been registered 162 new diagnoses of HIV infections in resident people, with an incidence equal to 3.6 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. The incidence remains higher in males (5.7 compared to 1.7 in females). In the period 2006-2022 the average incidence was equal to 6.9 cases per 100 thousand inhabitantswith an overall decreasing trend in both sexes, although more marked in men.
Over the entire period considered, the diagnosed HIV-positive people are predominantly male sex (74%), in the age group 30-39 years (30%) e di Italian nationality (68%). The transmission mode main appears to be, in 87% of casesthat sexual (51% heterosexual and 36% homo-bisexual); in particular in 2022, homo-bisexual transmission is almost equivalent to heterosexual transmission (42% and 41% respectively). In almost a fifth of cases (19%) are femaleHIV positivity was discovered during pregnancy; it’s mainly about foreign women (84%).
The incidence by age group shows how the most affected group is that between 20 and 49 years: the phenomenon is barely detectable for very young people under 20 and has less impact on those over fifty. The foreigners diagnosed with HIV infection represent just under a third (32%) of the total: they are significantly younger than Italians and predominantly female. The incidence of foreigners shows a constantly higher trend than that of Italians, even if the difference has reduced over time.
To know more
Factsheet – Data on HIV and AIDS in Emilia-Romagna
Sheet – The communication campaign “The positive side”
Posters of the communication campaign “The positive side”
The initiatives in Emilia-Romagna organized for World AIDS Daygo to Press kit