The dangers of love, from AIDS to covid-19

2020/12/17 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

Posted in Berria on 8 December 2020

Ed. Free announcement

Before the arrival of covid-19, for many the most terrifying pandemic has been AIDS. And although they are very different diseases, they have parities. The first, that both are viral.

In the first outbreaks, in neither, doctors had no idea the cause of these diseases. The first deaths from AIDS were not diagnosed and until the 1980s they did not realize that some patients had a similar symptomatology, and that they all had lymphocytes (immune system cells) at extremely low levels. From there they found HIV, a virus hitherto unknown.

It has been much faster to know that these fatal pneumonias associated with covid-19 were caused by a new coronavirus. In both cases, scientists struggled to accept the evidence and then explain it well to society. Although both have their origin in animals (apes, aids; bats, covid-19), the intermediate steps are not yet entirely clear. Conspiracy theories and suspicions created in the laboratory have emerged in both.

In both cases, the authorities reacted and are afraid: until gravity is evident, they were despised; then, the closure of the territory and the limitation of entry to the outside were and is one of the first measures. And yet they have become a pandemic. In both era and is the other one that transmits the disease: homosexual, whore, drug addict; migrant, young, poor worker. The shadow of stigma.

In both cases the disease can manifest in different ways: in AIDS, according to acquired infections; in covid-19, it can be acute, hyperinflammatory or persistent. In both cases asymptomatic and presyntomatic have been and are key to understanding transmission. HIV can remain hidden years without symptoms, many of those infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus have no obvious symptoms. Social conditions are key in both cases: the influence of AIDS and covid-19 is much more evident in the most vulnerable groups. There are patients with both infections.

Both are the main research topic worldwide. In the case of AIDS, after many years, effective treatments have been developed; for covid-19 vaccine research goes very fast and with good results.

Both can be lethal, but not equally: Galder Gonzalez Larrañaga recalled that COVID-19 has already killed more than 80% of people who have killed AIDS in Hego Euskal Herria for 30 years.

Both have forced strict preventive measures into close relationships: AIDS, especially in sexual activities, and many more situations at covid-19. Although it seems incredible today, there were those who rejected measures to protect themselves from AIDS (making coitus without a condom) as proof of love. If we meet with family and friends, let us continue with the necessary measures to prevent the transmission of coronavirus, precisely because we love them.

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