El Dr Emmanuel Luyirika, de la Asociación Africana de Cuidados Paliativos (APCA), discute la necesidad de garantizar cuidados paliativos a las personas que viven con el VIH en el continente africano. Más información, en inglés, está disponible abajo.

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By Dr Emmanuel Luyirika - ehospice

As part of our special series ahead of the 21st International AIDS conference, Dr Emmanuel Luyirika, Executive Director of the African Palliative Care Association speaks to ehospice about the need for palliative care for people living with HIV in Africa.

Can you describe the need for palliative care for people living with HIV (PLHIV) and their families in Africa? Has this changed since you began working in the field? 

The number of people with HIV who require palliative care is huge. This is due to the effects of the virus, the effect of opportunistic infections such as TB, cyptococcal infections, toxoplamsois and others including HIV-associated cancers such as Kaposi Sarcoma and other lymphomas. In addition, there are complications due to interactions of medications for these conditions, especially anti-retroviral medications (ARVs), and medications for TB and cancer.

As more people receive ARVs and age with HIV, we are also seeing more non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases and cancers for which palliative care is needed. The need for palliative care therefore does not go away which the introduction of ARVs but it is the conditions for which it is required that change.

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Thumbnail: Flickr CC Jorge Alejo