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Monday, 22 July 2013 09:48

8 Common HIV Myths and Facts Featured

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imagesHIV is national health crises. In spite of huge public education and medical research, some misconception still persists regarding HIV. Such myths are the main cause of panic regarding HIV and its spread leading to unnecessary social stigma.

Myth no 1. : I will get HIV if I am living with HIV infected person.

Fact: HIV virus can’t survive outside of the body for a prolong period of time. Transmission of HIV occurs only if you get exposed to infected body fluid such as semen, pre-ejaculated fluid, vaginal fluid, breast milk and blood and blood products.

HIV cannot be transmitted through

  • Touching, hugging or shaking hands
  • Sharing utensils with an infected person
  • Use of toilet seat, phones and door-knob handles
  • Mosquito bite
  • Use of exercise equipment at a gym
  • Donating blood

Myth no 2: HIV is completely curable with newer medicines.

Fact: No doubt, newer antiretroviral medicines are powerful enough to prolong the life of a person. However, until a date, no treatment can completely cure HIV. Moreover, antiretroviral drugs are expensive and not within the reach of everyone. Antiretroviral therapy required strong adherence and can produce serious side-effects.

Myth no 3: HIV will kill me early.

Fact: Sure HIV is not completely curable, but it’s not a death sentence at all. As HIV brakes down immune system, infected person is susceptible to develop many life-threatening illnesses. However, people can live productive life when HIV is diagnosed early and managed with modern antiretroviral medications with proper medical monitoring. Adherence to antiretroviral treatment can make a significant difference in quality of life of HIV person.

Myth no 4: I will not get HIV as I am not IV drugs user.

Fact: As mentioned earlier, HIV is transmitted through infected body fluids. Hence anyone can be susceptible to HIV when exposed to such fluids.

Some of the well-known routes of HIV transmission are…

  • Unprotected sex: Sex without use of a condom with person having HIV infection.
  • Use of infected blood or blood products: Blood products not tested for HIV but infected by a virus.
  • Sharing of needles and syringes: Use of same needles or syringes that are used by an infected person.
  • Infected mother to baby: HIV can also be transmitted from infected mother to baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.

Myth no.5: I am safe as I am using diaphragms during sexual intercourse.

Facts: Birth control methods like diaphragms, cervical caps, sponges, spermicidal agents or pills are designed to prevent pregnancy and not sexually transmitted diseases like HIV.

As HIV viruses are lurking in the body fluid such as semen, pre-ejaculated fluid and vaginal fluid, they can enter your body through cuts or sores on vagina, penis or rectum. Hence all birth control methods are not sure way to prevent HIV. However, when birth control methods are coupled with condom can reduce the chances of infection.

HIV can be transmitted during oral sex also when there is cut, sore or abrasion in mouth and throat.

Myth no 6: I can’t transfer the virus as I am on antiretroviral therapy.

Fact: Antiretroviral drugs only check out the viral load and still you are infected with a virus. Hence you can easily pass out infection to another person.

Myth no 7: I get diagnosed earlier if I have HIV.

Facts: Course of HIV is very unpredictable, and each person is affected differently. Some may show episodes of sickness while other still remains healthy for long duration. An infected person may not exhibit the HIV symptoms at least 10 years.

Myth no 8: Testing with HIV is useless as there is no permanent cure.

Fact: Positive test report may help to seek early treatment that can add quality days to your life. With your known positive status, you are well aware not to pass your infection to your loved ones.

Read 7403 times Last modified on Monday, 22 July 2013 10:01

1 comment

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