“You can get HIV/AIDS from someone else if you share a spoon with them”. When you see things like it just throws you off balance and makes you wonder how true it can be. There have been so many misconceptions about HIV/AIDS and these myths have caused damage to people’s lives in one way or another.
It is important to be properly informed about certain things before putting them out there for others to see or before believing in them. Hence, we are going to be debunking 10 myths about HIV.
Here are 7 myths about HIV/AIDS to look out for;
You can get HIV/AIDS by being around people with HIV
This is one HIV myth that is extremely outrageous. You cannot get HIV through touch, saliva, sweat, or urine. Rather, only blood, sperm, vaginal fluid, anal mucus, and breast milk can spread HIV. Infection occurs when these bodily fluids enter the bloodstream through unprotected sex (including the use of sex toys), oral medicines by using an infected needle, or from mother to child through pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.
Mosquitoes can spread HIV
Just because the virus spreads by blood, many have been concerned that they might contract it from biting or bloodsucking insects like mosquitoes. However, several studies suggest that this does not happen, even in locations with high mosquito populations and HIV cases.
When insects bite, they do not inject you with the blood of the person or animal who they bit before you.
You can identify people living with HIV by just looking at them
You cannot tell a person has HIV by just looking at them, and you cannot identify a person with HIV through symptoms because the symptoms can vary in different people. HIV infection can be efficiently treated if antiretroviral drugs are started early. A person with HIV who receives antiretroviral treatment will be in good health and is no different from other people who have chronic health concerns.
The traditional symptoms that people identify with HIV are indications of AIDS-related illnesses or complications. However, with sufficient antiretroviral treatment and drugs, an individual living with HIV will not have these symptoms.
People infected with HIV cannot have children
Having HIV does not mean you cannot have children. A woman with this virus who wishes to have children can start planning with her doctor by taking her treatment. Because HIV treatment has advanced so much, if a woman takes her HIV medication daily as prescribed by a healthcare provider throughout her entire pregnancy (including labour and delivery) and continues medicine for her baby for 4 to 6 weeks after birth, the risk of HIV transmission to the baby can be as low as 1% or less.
Having HIV means your life is over
When a person gets infected with HIV, it does not mean that the person’s life is over. Yes HIV can be life-threatening, but with the right treatments, it can be managed. People living with the virus can live a healthy life, have a relationship and also end up having children. Hence, do not believe your life is over, or it is the end of the world because you have HIV.
I can tell if my partner is HIV positive
You can have HIV for years without experiencing any symptoms. The only way to find out if you or your partner are positive is to be tested. It is recommended that everyone between the ages of 18 and 64 be tested at least once as part of routine blood work due to the long period of asymptomatic infection.
You can get HIV through oral sex
Oral intercourse cannot transmit HIV unless one of the partners has large, open sores on the genitalia or mouth, or if the other partner is an HIV-positive woman who is menstruation at the time. HIV infection can only pass through blood, semen, vaginal fluid, anal mucus, and breast milk.
HIV is not a death sentence, and because a person has the virus doesn’t mean that such a person should be discriminated against because you can have HIV and still live a healthy life like every other person without the virus. In addition, these HIV myths should not be taken seriously since there is no truth to either of them.