The slowdown of new infections by human retroviruses has reached a plateau in Spain

by | May 22, 2023 | Publications

J Med Virol. 2023 May;95(5):e28779. doi: 10.1002/jmv.28779.


The 2022 annual meeting of the HTLV & HIV-2 Spanish Network was held in Madrid on December 14. We summarize here the main information presented and discussed at the workshop and review time trends for human retroviral infections in Spain. As transmissible agents, infections by human retroviruses are of obligatory declaration. Until the end of 2022, the Spanish national registry had recorded 451 cases of HTLV-1, 821 of HTLV-2, and 416 of HIV-2. For HIV-1, estimates are of 150 000 people currently living with HIV-1 and 60 000 cumulative deaths due to AIDS. During year 2022, new diagnoses in Spain were of 22 for HTLV-1, 6 for HTLV-2, and 7 for HIV-2. The last updated figures for HIV-1 are from 2021 and counted 2786 new diagnoses. The slowdown in yearly infections for HIV-1 in Spain points out that new strategies are needed to achieve the United Nations 95-95-95 targets by 2025. For the remaining neglected human retroviral infections, their control might be pushed throughout four interventions: (1) expanding testing; (2) improving education and interventions aimed to reduce risk behaviors; (3) facilitating access to antiretrovirals as treatment and prevention, including further development of long-acting formulations; and (4) increasing vaccine research efforts. Spain is a 47 million population country in South Europe with strong migration flows from HTLV-1 endemic regions in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. At this time universal HTLV screening has been implemented only in the transplantation setting, following the report of 5 cases of HTLV-associated myelopathy shortly after transplantation of organs from HTLV-1 positive donors. There are four target populations for expanding testing and unveiling asymptomatic carriers responsible for silent HTLV-1 transmissions: (1) migrants; (2) individuals with sexually transmitted infections; (3) pregnant women; and (4) blood donors.

PMID:37212269 | DOI:10.1002/jmv.28779

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