Every year between 300 to 400 people are diagnosed with HIV at Malaga’s hospitals, according to doctor Javier de la Torre, who specialises in infectious illnesses and works at Marbella’s Hospital Costa del Sol.
De la Torre revealed the figures at a conference held at Malaga’s Palacio de Ferias y Congresos last Friday, where he was joined on the panel by Dr José Antonio Pérez Molina, the president of Gesida, which is a Spanish association dedicated to the study of AIDs, infectious illnesses and microbiology.
The purpose of the conference was to promote an informative booklet that reportedly contains everything a patient with HIV needs to know about the virus, which has been written by De la Torre and Piedad Arazo, another doctor with expertise in infectious illnesses.
The doctors also described Malaga as a “hotspot” for the virus as there are currently 5,000 people known to be HIV positive in the province, but the true number is thought to be much higher as it is estimated that up to 40 per cent of people who are infected do not know they are carrying the virus.
De la Torre stressed early detection of the virus is imperative so that patients can be treated successfully with antiretroviral drugs, as the period of time between contracting the virus and it developing into AIDs can be as little as three years. Antiretroviral drugs do not cure the illness, but are very effective in inhibiting the virus from developing into AIDs and preventing its transmission into other people.
In fact, if HIV is diagnosed and treated with these drugs early enough, he says, the patient can live a normal life and enjoy the same life expectancy as someone who does not carry the virus.