Sexo y sida en la tercera edad

 

Hace algunos años, el anterior Secretario General de la , Kofi Annan, decía: “El  es un problema mundial de proporciones catastróficas. El desafío es enorme, pero tenemos medios para hacerle frente. Por eso he decidido que una de mis prioridades personales sea formar una alianza mundial acorde al desafío”

Con el advenimiento de los modernos tratamientos, el  ha pasado a convertirse en una enfermedad crónica en los países del primer mundo, pero no así en África, Asia o muchos países de America Latina, donde sigue siendo una verdadera condena de muerte.

Aunque es cierto que los tratamientos son efectivos, son al mismo tiempo tremendamente costosos; pueden dejar de funcionar y producen efectos secundarios indeseables. Por tanto, no hay que entenderlos como una panacea.

Para hacernos una idea de las dimensiones de  en la personas mayores, en EEUU, según datos de ONUSIDA, un 10% de los casos comunicados correspondía a mayores de 50 años y de estos, una cuarta parte a mayores de 60 años.

Lógicamente, la esperanza de vida de los enfermos de VIH es cada vez mayor, pero este grupo lo forman no sólo los jóvenes infectados que llegan a mayores, sino también los mayores que se contagian siendo ya mayores.

En el pasado se consideraba que la principal fuente de contagio del VIH en  eran las trasfusiones de sangre, pero actualmente es la . Estudios recientes demuestran que no sólo en relaciones heterosexuales, sino también homosexuales y bisexuales.

De manera errónea, se considera que el envejecimiento provoca falta de deseo sexual en hombres y mujeres de manera inexorable. Hecho éste rotundamente falso. Además, se identifican relaciones sexuales, promiscuidad y juventud con el riesgo de contagio, cuando este riesgo existe igual en cualquier momento de la vida.

La vida sexual va muy unida al bienestar físico y emocional y a la ausencia de enfermedad. Cada vez vivimos más años y en mejores condiciones, por tanto parece claro que la vida sexual se alargará cada vez más. Muchas personas mayores vuelven a estar solteras, se divorcian o enviudan, convirtiéndose en población expuesta al contagio del virus.

Son muchos los motivos por los cuales está aumentado el contagio sexual del VIH en ancianos. Los hombres por encima de los 70 años no consideran que deban usar  ya que las posibilidades reproductivas de ellos y sus parejas son mínimas. Gran error, porque es el mejor método para prevenir las enfermedades de trasmisión sexual.

De la misma manera, las mujeres postmenopáusicas sufren diversos cambios hormonales (paredes vaginales más finas, menor lubricación) que les hacen más susceptibles al contagio del VIH durante una relación sexual y, además, debido a que sus defensas son menores, esta infección puede tener más gravedad y más difícil tratamiento (disminuye la respuesta de las células  al tratamiento antirretroviral).

En los hombres, la llegada de pastillas eficaces para tratar los problemas de erección (Viagra, Cialis y Levitra) ha hecho que en muchos casos no se renuncie a ello, no tomando la debidas precauciones por considerase equivocadamente ‘exentos’ de riesgo.

Debido al prejuicio general sobre la sexualidad en ancianos o la ignorancia en las relaciones médico-paciente, muchas veces se retrasa el diagnóstico o no se identifica el riesgo, con las desastrosas consecuencias que esto puede acarrear.

¿sexo en la tercera edad? por supuesto que SI, pero con precaución.


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