5 Common Myths About AIDS That Are Simply Not True
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5 Common Myths About AIDS That Are Simply Not True

Fitness
Dr. Khoobsurat Najma
4 min read

5 Common Myths About AIDS That Are Simply Not True

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HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is the virus that gets transmitted from an HIV-positive person to a healthy person. It can get transferred through unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person, by blood transfusion ...

There are many myths, fears, and misconceptions that people have, as far as AIDS and HIV are concerned. The topic itself is a taboo subject, and most people are not open to talking about it. This leads to a lack of awareness and wrong information getting circulated amongst people.

The key to preventing and battling AIDS is awareness and empathy. Awareness about the ways one can prevent AIDS, and empathy towards people who are fighting this disease. With early detection and timely treatment, HIV-positive people can lead a healthy and fulfilling life. Creating support groups and social platforms, where people with AIDS can express their concerns, can go a long way in managing AIDS effectively. Also, eliminating bias and treated people with AIDS as equals, with equal access to healthcare, jobs, recreational activities, and a social life, is pivotal when it comes to fighting AIDS on a macroscopic level. HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is the virus that gets transmitted from an HIV-positive person to a healthy person. It can get transferred through unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person, by blood transfusion, through contaminated needles, tattoos, piercing, via an HIV-positive mother to her child, and through breast milk.

This World AIDS day, we bring to you the 5 myths about AIDS that are just not true:

HIV AIDS Needle

Myth: AIDS is caused by just sex.

Fact: HIV and AIDS can be transmitted from one person to another via multiple ways. These include unprotected sex, using contaminated needles, blood transfusion, and from an HIV-positive mother to the baby. Most people believe that the only means of transmission is unprotected sex, which is not true. One can get contaminated in hospitals, tattoo parlours, and through intravenous drugs. Even breast milk from an infected mother can cause HIV to the newborn.

Myth: HIV and AIDS mean the same thing.

Fact: HIV and AIDS are 2 different things. A person who is HIV-positive is said to have AIDS when the infection weakens his/her immune system so much that he/she is at an alarming risk of developing certain diseases that are uncommon in people with a healthy immune system. Not all HIV-positive people develop AIDS. If the treatment is started on time, it can help in slowing down the progression from HIV to full-blown AIDS, and can also keep a person from developing AIDS.  

Myth: Hanging out with HIV-positive people can be very dangerous.

Fact: You can only get HIV if you are exposed to vaginal fluid, blood, semen, or an HIV-infected mother’s milk. There is no known evidence of transmission through tears or saliva. So by hanging out with people who have HIV or AIDS, you are not at risk of any infection, be it by eating food that is prepared or handled by HIV-infected people, sharing restrooms with HIV-infected people, hugging or touching HIV-infected people, or sharing their clothing or phones etc.

Myth: You can get AIDS from the bite of a mosquito.

Fact: Although AIDS and HIV are transmitted by blood, there is no evidence of their spread through mosquito bites. So the thought that mosquito bites can spread AIDS is a misconception.  

Myth: Oral sex does not cause HIV and AIDS.

Fact: Although oral sex is less risky in transmitting AIDS as compared to other types of sex, but having oral sex with a person who is HIV positive can transmit the virus to you, and you can get AIDS. Studies suggest that the possible risk of infection from a single encounter is quite low, but it tends to increase with the increased frequency of the activity. The risk of infection is also high in people who have sores around their mouths or genital areas, and in people who have gum diseases, or suffer from bleeding gums. The use of a latex barrier during oral sex could lower the risk of transmission of the disease.

AIDS and words cloud

So keep these myths in mind, and remember, awareness and empathy are the keys this World AIDS Day.

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