Although there are a number of unanswered queries about HIV, researchers over the time have learned a great deal. Here we bring you the ten most common myths about HIV, along with the facts to clash them out…
- Myth 1: Having HIV is having AIDS
Fact: HIV or Human immunodeficiency virus is a virus that demolishes the body’s CD4 immune cells, which help in fighting against the disease. With the proper medicines, your HIV can sustain for decades without progressing to AIDS. AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is diagnosed only when you have HIV along with certain opportunistic infections or when your CD4 cell count drops below 200. (Source: WebMD)
- Myth 2: You can get HIV by kissing the infected person.
Fact: Casual contact through “social” or closed mouth kissing is not a risk for spreading of HIV. However, due to the hypothetical possibility for contact with blood during open-mouthed or “French” kissing, the CDC commends against engaging in these activities with a HIV positive person. Though, no cases of HIV/AIDS have been recognized to any type of kissing. (Source: Healthline)
- Myth 3: Since I only have oral sex, I am not at all susceptible to the risk of HIV/AIDS
Fact: HIV can pass when you indulge in oral activities whether with a man or a woman. It is safe to ue latex barrier to prevent the disease. (Source: HBP.gov)
- Myth 4: HIV can be cured
Fact: There is no such cure for HIV, however, the treatment can keep the level of virus low and help in maintaining your immune system. A therapy called HAART or ART is also used on patients to minimize the reproduction of the virus and prevent progression to AIDS. However, it is still not curable and there is no vaccine available.
- Myth 5: You cannot be infected by HIV/AIDS if you use contraceptives like the Pill, diaphragm, sponges, spermicides, cervical caps or Norplants.
Fact: These techniques of birth control only prevent pregnancy and not the transmission of any sexually transmitted diseases (STD) including HIV. The most reliable way to thwart both STD AND pregnancy is through abstinence. Or you can use a condom in combination with these birth control methods.
- Myth 6: I will know if I or my loved one has an HIV
Fact: An infected person may not exhibit any symptoms for as long as 10 years and may appear healthy. So, it is better to test than living in a mystery.
- Myth 7: HIV can be transmitted by sharing things with the infected person.
Fact: HIV cannot transmit by holding, hugging or sharing same utensils. It is also not transferable through door handles or a toilet seat. The only way it gets transmitted is through direct contact with an infected person’s body fluids such as pre-ejaculate fluid, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk or blood. HIV can also pass through syringes infected with HIV blood, including the ones used for injecting drugs, body piercing or tattooing.
- Myth 8: People Can Get Infected with HIV from mosquitoes
Fact: Because HIV is spread through blood contact, people have worried that biting or bloodsucking insects might spread HIV, this is (NOT TRUE). The truth is when an insects bites, they do not inject the blood of the person or animal they have last bitten. Also, HIV lives for only a short time inside an insect. Several studies have been done in areas with lots of mosquitoes and cases of HIV, and there is no evidence to support this myth. (Source: MAOI)
- Myth 9: Women Can’t Give Men HIV
Fact: It’s much harder for men to get HIV from women, but it does happen. HIV does not live long outside the body. A man’s penis is only exposed to HIV for the time that it is in a vagina or rectum. Men also may have fewer areas on the penis where the virus can enter the body. HIV can enter at the opening of the tip and through cuts or sores on the shaft, but if a partner has an untreated sexually transmitted infection (STI) like syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia, the risk is higher. (Source: MAOI)
- Myth 10: “I’m HIV-positive, my life is over”.
Fact:In the early years of the disease epidemic, the death rate from AIDS was extremely high. But today, antiretroviral drugs allow HIV-positive people — and even those with AIDS — to live much longer, normal, and productive lives. (Source: WebMD)
Image Source: AIDS
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