According to the latest Epidemiological Surveillance of HIV and AIDS in Catalonia 2022 report, prepared by CEEISCAT, 460 new HIV diagnoses were notified in 2022, which means a rate of 5.9/100,000 inhabitants, which represents an increase of 5.5% compared to the previous year. 83.5% were men and the average age at diagnosis was 37 years. 49.6% of the new diagnoses presented a late diagnosis.
First HIV visits
Historically, the typology of patients diagnosed with HIV and who visited the Infectious Diseases Unit of Germans Trias Hospital had specific characteristics and, many of them, faced the first visit with previously verified information. This fact was due, in part, to the work carried out by the BCN checkpoint community center where HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are detected and which is aimed especially at gay men, bisexuals and transsexual women.
The people who are part of this community center maintain close communication relationships with each other, which makes it easier for them to obtain information and data about the infections treated there, including HIV. Currently, however, the type of patients who receive a first visit by the medical team is beginning to change and they are becoming patients who are not so well informed about the virus. Therefore, when they receive the news about the infection it comes as a real “surprise” and any element of communication with meaningful information that can reassure them, before facing the first visit, is very welcome.
The data confirms this fact and is that during the year 2021 of the first 95 total visits attended at Germans Trias Hospital, 62% came from BCN checkpoint and only 38% came from CAPS, Urgencies, ASSIRs, etc. On the other hand, the data collected during the year 2022 confirm that the first visits from BCN checkpoint decrease by 14%, becoming a total of 48% and, on the other hand, the rest of the visits from other centers increase by 38% to 52%.
Taking these data into account, a multidisciplinary team from the Fight Infections Foundation, a reference in HIV, together with the collaboration of a person with HIV, has launched a new project to improve care for people newly diagnosed with ensure that they feel comfortable, accompanied and have all the information they may need. This project takes the name of BENVIHNGUDES.
The objectives pursued by this project are the following:
- Offer objective and contrasted data about HIV through a language that is full and easy for everyone to understand.
- Reduce the fear and anxiety that a person may feel when they arrive at the hospital.
- Intensify early diagnosis through coordination with primary care entities, health centers, CUAPS and community centers in the area.
- Formalize the circuit of first visits, many of them recently diagnosed with HIV, ensuring that these people feel comfortable, accompanied and attended to in a personalized way.
At this moment, the aim of the Fundació Lluita contra les Infeccións is to send BENVIHNGUDES to people who are diagnosed with HIV for the first time in Catalonia, as well as to their families, their environment and the health professionals themselves. For this reason, the pills have been recorded and transcribed in Catalan, Spanish and English, especially considering that there is a significant number of people with HIV from other countries.
The four pills answer the following key questions:
Dr. Eugènia Negredo, head of the HIV section at the Germans Trias Hospital and researcher at the Fight Infections Foundation, explains that: “The number of patients who receive assistance from the Infectious Diseases Service at the Germans Trias Hospital and from the Fundació Lluita contra les Infeccións is very high, since we serve 3,000 people during the year and every month we receive an average of between 7 and 10 new cases that continue to put us on alert. We think that the fact of having audiovisual resources like the BENVIHNGUDA pills guarantees a better welcome for these people and, above all, also thinking about the case of late diagnoses”.