About HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) damages the cells of the immune system and in advanced stages of the disease, results in the development of AIDS. Infection occurs through the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate or breast milk.

The virus was identified between 1981 and 1986, the period in which it was isolated and the detection test for it was created. After that the first drug to fight HIV, AZT, was discovered.

Up until 1996, the disease spread across the world and was deadly in 95% of the cases, but in that same year the antiretroviral treatment was discovered thus redefining the virus from lethal to chronic. In this regard it’s important to take into consideration that nowadays the HIV infection has no cure and the current treatments only hamper its development as well as only being effective under the indicate conditions.

According to the World Health Organization, at the end of 2011 there were around 34 million people living with the disease all around the world. Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region where the virus infects 1 out of every 20 adults. 68% of the world´s HIV-positive population lives in this area.   

In Spain, around 3,000 people are infected each year and it is estimated that about 150,000 are living with the disease. Here in Catalonia, there are about 35,000 people who are HIV-positive and 25% are not aware of their infection.