Together with Ramón, EFEsalud also interviewed Dr. Marisa Montes from the GeSIDA board to talk about the first signs or symptoms that can warn you that you have Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
A virus that the entire population is exposed to, homosexual or heterosexual, and detected by a simple blood test.
In 1993, Ramón Linaza was diagnosed as a HIV patient. She was tested because she had had sexual practices "now considered risky".
He reckons he was infected in the 1980s, but he did the test in the early 90s when he asked a nurse to do them when he knew he had risky practice and it turned out to be positive.
"The basic reason for testing was that I knew that I had had risky practices, even though I had hardly any symptoms, just a chronic cold, which I hadn't finished taking away, which more or less I still have, I have some inclination … ".
Ramón explains that his case is quite specific: "I began to put myself in the year I was diagnosed with retrovirus, which was the only medicine I had then and I participated in many research protocols, but with the fact that I always played the group of placebo. "
One particular case
"My case is known all over the world because I am one of those people who have developed the most resistance to all drugs because they have a completely uncontrolled viral load."
As a result, he had very low defenses. His CD4 lymphocytes, which are the fight against infections, came down to 40 per cubic meter.
"For many years they could not control the virus, had a viral load of millions of copies, and despite not developing any disease."
About five years ago they gave him a new medication, also combined with another drug "I used for hepatitis, but had seen it be useful … let's say it was a shock treatment."
From that moment on, his HIV virus load was not detectable, and since then he confirms that it remains that way and that the defense has gone up a lot: "Now I'm 400 CD4 more or less".
Quality of life
He believes that he has always had a good quality of life despite having low defense.
But remember that years ago it was very normal for every winter to catch some flu and stay two or three days in bed. "Now I spend the winter without major problem".
"Never," he concludes, "we must lose hope, and we must also say that we must always comply with the prescribed medication; there are two very important elements: eating and living a healthy life, getting enough rest … .. You have to take care of yourself and I have always done it ".
HIV symptoms: the first very unspecific
Explain it Dr. Marisa Montes that when the HIV infection is recent, it is normal that the patient is usually flu, fever, enlarged lymph nodes, fatigue …
"And, of course, the symptoms of HIV are very unspecific at first."
There are times, specialist GeSIDA explains, that if that person has a suspicion and minimal knowledge that HIV produces cataracts as soon as it is contagious, the tests are performed.
"But if you don't suspect anything, you think you have flu. In fact, 99% of patients recover within one week and remain asymptomatic."
The problem is that the disease becomes chronic and the virus begins to do its damage, which is usually "slow and progressive".
Symptoms of infections
The specialist warns that when the virus degrades your immune system adequately, you begin to get the symptoms associated with the infections you are taking.
Often he says that from a moment it starts to have other symptoms.
"But the moment depends on each person, there are many factors, and it depends on the amount of virus that remains in the blood of your immune system, your age, that you have other diseases.
"Time is variable, but there is a time when the virus kills part of the defense, which is the CD4 lymphocytes, it's a virus that specifically destroys an organization's kind of defense."
Pneumonia, meningitis, tuberculosis, candiadiasis ..
And when these defenses fall below a certain level, the problems of infections begin and patients have symptoms related to these infections "and most often they are pneumonia, with fever, cough and difficulty breathing."
There are also severe types of meningitis with fever, headache, behavioral patterns.
The doctor also points to tuberculosis.
"It is a disease that is much more frequent in people who have HIV infection. In general, these are the most common disorders we are associated with."
And then it is "relatively common for patients to have candidiasis", a fungus that is sometimes found in the mouth and even in the esophagus "and it should also be suspicious data".
Herpes zoster, tumors …
Sometimes shingles can also indicate HIV infection. "In this case, the very striking herpes, large herpes occurs."
When the immune system is severely damaged, tumors can occur "especially lymphomas, there are some types that can be very serious, actually lethal and some serious infections of the brain too".
People can only get infected with HIV and not get AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Aids means your defenses have fallen below 200 cd4 per. Microliters and "beyond this fall are some of these guidance symptoms, or a disease associated with low defenses has occurred and that is when the disease has developed."
The specialist explains that the disease does not develop until the HIV virus kills a sufficient number of CD4 lymphocytes.
"During that time, people can be asymptomatic."
Weight loss, appetite, fever
Also, the loss of weight, appetite, fever, sweating appears, and generally does so when there are already some of the mentioned infections, or when the disease is already very advanced.
"The HIV virus itself can cause fever, fatigue, weight loss, then there are diarrhea already in the stages of very advanced disease."
Asymptomatic moment: high risk
The asymptomatic period is high risk and that is because by not knowing that the person having HIV can transfer it to others while their immune system worsens without realizing it.
"Earlier we said that AIDS was reached in an average period of 10 years, but from the fourth or fifth year the signs begin to work: herpes, honest …."
For Marisa Montes, it is important to insist that the diagnosis is fundamental and that it is a disease that affects everyone, gay and heterosexual.
"Having an HIV test is super important and diagnosing yourself before any symptoms make you completely change your life."
"With medication, it becomes controllable and it will not cause you problems or any suffering that can kill you when you are 30 years old".