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HIV: More infections in older people NDR.de – Guide

Status: 27.11.2018 11:44

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HIV is transmitted through blood and other body fluids – essentially sperm, secretive secretion and anal secretion.

An infection with the Immunodever Virus Virus is no longer a death sentence. If it is detected in time, an outbreak of AIDS can be prevented. However, at each second, the diagnosis will only take place in a highly advanced stage if the AIDS disease has already broken out. Most elderly people do not often suspect that they have infected with HIV: The number of new infections aged over 50 is steadily increasing.

HIV infection in older people

Older HIV infections often do not belong to any of the classical risk groups:

  • gay men
  • Drug addicts
  • Women who have unprotected sexual intercourse with frequently changing sexual partners

HIV infection often comes from elderly people by the occurrence of follow-up disorders such as pneumonia. When they are infected, they are often hard to understand.

One possible reason for the increase in HIV infection in higher age: Safer sex does not play a major role in many sexually active people after menopausal years, because the topic loses prejudice.

HIV infection: Underestimate risk

Every year in Germany more than 3,000 people are infected with the virus. Especially outside the classical risk groups, the rate of infection has risen. Experts estimate that about 13,000 people do not even know they are infected. They are weighing in a tricky security and do not even come up with the idea of ​​being tested. Many doctors underestimate the risk of HIV infection in older people, and therefore rarely assert a test.

Early HIV test is important

The German AIDS Help has a Education Aid "No AIDS for All!" started. She is to explain how important it is to detect HIV infection before it breaks out AIDS. Therefore, there should always be an HIV test if an infection is not possible.

HIV is transmitted

Humane immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is transmitted through blood and other body fluids – especially sperm, secretion secretion and anal secretion. The most common transmission path is unprotected sex traffic. Transmission of pregnancy infection to her child is also possible during birth and breastfeeding. Body contacts in daily social interaction and the sharing of dishes, cutlery and sanitary facilities do not constitute an infection risk. HIV is not transmitted through saliva, tear fluid or droplet infection, nor by insect stings, food or drinking water.

What happens in the body?

The viruses multiply in specific cells of the blood, the T helper cells. They belong to the group of lymphocytes responsible for cellular infection. For this purpose, viruses build their herb into the cell and force the cell to produce HI viruses. After the virus has increased in cells, they die. The consequence is a pronounced and irreversible disturbance of cellular immune defenses. The first symptoms usually occur two to three weeks after infection and are commonly known as grippal infections. At the stage of acute HIV infection, usually a symptom free phase occurs. This may last for months or years.

In the case of non-treated diseases, about half of the infected people have severe immune defects ten years after infection. These life-threatening diseases are referred to as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). This is especially due to pneumonia caused by so-called opportunistic pathogens – ie germs that will only cause illness when the organism is abused. In health, these illnesses do not occur at all or run smoothly.

The diagnosis of HIV infection is based on the detection of specific antibodies as well as the virus itself or its substance in the blood. In infection, viral antigens are usually detected after 16 to 18 days and specific antibodies are detected on average 22 days after infection. Viral substance can even be detected after eleven days. An early diagnosis of HIV infections significantly contributes to reducing mortality. It also has preventive effects because less infections are unintentionally transmitted.

Medicines "Freeze Disease"

To date, the disease is not curable. Thanks to modern medicines, however, it is good to treat them. And life expectancy as well as the quality of life of the people are usually good. The medication can usually prevent the outbreak of AIDS. On the one hand, the medicines prevent the virus from penetrating the target cell and, on the other hand, inhibit the virus proliferation. The disease is thereby frozen. Overall, five different groups of HIV medicines are available today. Entry inhibitors prevent the virus from entering the cell. They prevent the merging of the virus casing with the cell wall. In order for the virus to incorporate inherited information in the cell, the information must be rewritten.

So-called reverse transcriptase inhibitors of nucleoside interfere with this process by incorporating incorrect protein building blocks into the cell. Non-nucleoside-containing reverse transcriptase inhibitors inhibit the enzyme required for the description of hereditary information. Protease inhibitors prevent the virus components produced in the cell from being assembled into full viruses. The latest drug group in HIV therapy is the so-called integrase inhibitors. They prevent the incorporation of viral DNA into the DNA cell of the human host cell.

Various medicines for therapy are required

Ideally, the medicines cause no new viruses to be produced. The number of free viruses in the blood decreases and the number of T helper cells increases, so the immune system recovers. As a rule, therapy consists of a combination of different medicines, as the virus develops rapidly against individual drugs.

More information

The number of AIDS re-infections has risen in several countries. That said Holger Wicht from the German AIDS help on NDR Info. The reason was insufficient prevention.

Hamburg supports researchers in developing the world's first gene therapy against HIV. SPD and Green want to provide three million euros, including the federal government.

Experts on the subject

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Julian Schulze to Wiesch, head physician
Section of infectiology
I. Medical Clinic and Policlinic – Gastroenterology with sections of Infectiology and Tropical Medicine
Center for Internal Medicine
University Hospital of Hamburg-Eppendorf
Martinistraße 52, 20246 Hamburg

Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Stellbrink, Internal Medicine Specialist, Infectiologist
ICH – Infection Medical Center Hamburg
Grindelallee 35, 20146 Hamburg
(040) 413 24 20

More information
German AIDS Help e. V.
Wilhelmstraße 138, 10963 Berlin
(030) 69 00 87-0

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