HIV and AIDS are already being used as an alternative to each other by many literate people, which has distorted its real difference. There is no anticipation of a cure yet, but it should ward off some negotiable myths.
In this write-up, we have tried to cast a light on all Common myths and facts about HIV/AIDS, resulting from peoples’ blind eye and lack of knowledge.
HIV is a death sentence
Yes, HIV is a chronic illness, but advances in treatment make it possible for HIV-infected people to live a normal life like HIV-negative people. The doctor says a person with HIV with good access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) can expect to live a normal lifespan.
It can be transferred by kissing
This is one of the most common concerns among people. Transmission through kissing is extremely rare, but you would be in peril if HIV positive person you are kissing has sore or bleeding gums.
You can’t get HIV from oral sex
It is mostly considered as a low risk for HIV transmission. Nevertheless, risk can be elevated if there are sores, cuts, or abrasions in one’s mouth.
You can tell merely by looking if someone has HIV
HIV positive individuals also look the same as others who have chronic health conditions. Not even a physician can tell merely by looking at someone that he/she is HIV positive. Their symptoms are the same as fever, fatigue, or general illness. The stereotypical symptoms arise from advanced HIV, which is mostly associated with HIV.
HIV is same as AIDS
For sure, it takes decades for medical specialists also to differentiate between HIV and AIDS. But advances in the medical field have cleared that most people with HIV will never have AIDS if they start treatment early after a tested positive.
HIV positive people cannot have sex with HIV negative people
A positive diagnosed individual also can have sex with HIV negative, but that person has to take proper precautions to prevent HIV transmission during sex. This, in the first place, includes condoms. The transmission risk comes down to zero if a person on treatment has achieved an undetectable viral load.
No need to start treatment immediately after diagnosed HIV positive
If you do not start treatment soon after diagnosis, you are calling your chronic illness. The most effective time to start treatment is immediately after a tested positive. It increases life expectancy, prevent serious illness, and improves health.
Straight people cannot have HIV infection
The highest risk group for HIV is indeed men who have sex with men. But it doesn’t mean straight people don’t have to worry. Heterosexual people are at the same level of risk. According to one report, African-Americans face a higher risk of HIV transmission than any other race, no matter their sexual orientation.
Positive tested with HIV people cannot have a child safely
It is not completely true. Advanced treatments have lowered the risk of transmission. An HIV positive woman has to start her ART treatment with her healthcare provider. If she takes her medicine daily without fail throughout her pregnancy and continue the medicine for her baby for 4 to 6 weeks after birth, the risk can be lower down to 1 percent or less.
If a woman is HIV negative, and a male partner is positive, they can lower the risk of transmission to mother and baby by taking special medication consulting their physician.
Anyone or both of the partner carries HIV has to consult their healthcare provider when they plan to have a baby.
HIV always leads to AIDS
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a syndrome of the immune system caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). In this, HIV attacks the immune system and weakens immune response over time. AIDS is simply an advanced HIV, but it can be prevented by early treatment of HIV infection.
HIV is no big deal with advance treatments
The peril of acquiring HIV and its impacts varies with lifestyle, gender, sexuality, age, and treatment. Though medical treatments have been advancing with each passing day, the virus can still lead to the risk of death for a particular group of people. So, one should always be attentive towards precautions as well as the treatments.
If taking PrEP, no need to use a condom
PrRP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily dose of medication to prevent HIV infection in advance. Nevertheless, other sexually transmitted diseases or infections cannot be prevented using this medication. Hence, one should use it with safer sex practices.
Those who diagnosed HIV negative can have unprotected sex
It needs to test twice in three months interval to confirm the HIV. In this antibody screening test, though you have been diagnosed negative in your recent possible risk of infection, you need to test it again immediately after three months.
There are tests called HIV combo tests, which can detect the virus earlier.
If the duo diagnosed HIV positive, there is no need to use a condom
Even if both partners have HIV, safe sex is still important. There are different strains of the virus, and it’s possible to transmit a different strain of HIV to a partner, and you will be infected with that different strains you don’t have before. If, in the worst case that strains are more drug-resistant can worsen your condition.
HIV can be spread through saliva, tears, pee, and sweat
Nope, it doesn’t spread through all of these. It only spread through semen, vaginal fluid, blood, or milk from HIV infected person.
You can get HIV from mosquitoes or other insects
This virus does not reproduce and survive in insects.
Most prevailing myths are:
- Breathing the same air.
- Touching, shaking hands, or hugging
- Sharing toilets, phones, clothes, towels, or exercise equipment
- Sharing folks, spoons, or drinking glasses
- Eating food prepared or served by them.
Mutual masturbation, fingering, and hand-jobs are all safe from HIV. However, if you use sex toys, make sure you use a new condom on them when switching between partners.
Spread through air or water
This virus cannot survive in the air, so coughing, sneezing, or spitting cannot transmit HIV. It cannot survive in water, so it will not transmit from swimming pools, baths, shower areas, washing clothes, or drinking water.
Tattoos and piercings
There is only a risk if the needle used by the professional has been used in the body of an HIV-infected person and not sterilized afterward. Practitioners should consider a new needle for every new person.
These were the most prevailing myths. Unfortunately, HIV is incurable, but infected people can live long, productive lives with early detection and adequate ART (antiretroviral treatment).