HIV myths and facts? There are various myths that surrounded the HIV disease is due to lack of proper knowledge and information received by everyone. Clear your doubts by knowing that the HIV virus does not spread through touch, sweat, tears, saliva, and pee.
Quick Jump Table
HIV myths and facts
HIV is only transferred from one person to another in fluid form. When the fluid comes in contact with the mucous membranes of an uninfected person, there is a risk of developing the HIV virus.
The fluid comes into contact with;
- Breast milk
Besides, the transmission of the HIV virus might also occur via the broken skin of an infected person and with the usage of infected needles or syringes.
8 Common myths associated with HIV
8 Common myths associated with HIV which are not true are;
- Hugging, kissing and shaking hands – The HIV virus is not transferred from an infected person through hugging, kissing and handshakes. Hence, by touching an infected person, you will not get infected.
- Breathing the same air around the infection person – It is wrong to believe that if you breathe in the air from an HIV-infected person, the virus will be transferred to you. It is not true, because HIV is not an airborne disease.
- Sharing kitchen utensils – Most of the people believe that by sharing a plate of food or serving an HIV-infected person in your kitchen utensils will transfer the disease. HIV is not transferred through food and utensils.
- Drinking water from a fountain – Many people avoid drinking water from a public water fountain to avoid coming in contact with any disease like HIV. People don’t get infected through public water booths, as HIV is not the water-borne disease.
- Usage of exercise equipment at the gym – Even an HIV infected and a non-HIV-infected person, both can go for a gym workout session with no worry. HIV is not transferred with the touching of the gym equipment.
- Touching toilet seat, doorknob/handle – Many of you might find it difficult to use a public toilet thinking it might spread HIV virus if an HIV-infected person has used it before you. HIV is not spread through seats of toilet or doorknob/handle.
- Oral sex does not transfer the HIV virus – There is a big misconception about oral sex and HIV virus. Many of you believe that the HIV virus is spread through oral sex if your partner is HIV infected. It is not true, as the HIV virus only spreads through unprotected sexual intercourse (via a vaginal or anal section).
- HIV infected couple can have unprotected sex – If both the partners are HIV infected, and they opt for unprotected sex, there are chances they might transfer the type of HIV infection to each other. There are different strains that exist in the HIV virus. And it is unnecessary that both the partner is infected with the same type of strain. Instead, they might suffer from 2 different strains. Treatment for over 1 strain in a person makes the treatment more difficult in terms of medications and limiting the spread of the HIV virus to other parts of the body. Hence, always opt for protected sex (use condoms) to protect your partner.
Myths associated with HIV Treatment
- Myth: One needs to take dozens of tablets every day during the treating of HIV. Fact: It was years ago where patients used to take many daily medications when inventions and advancements in medicine had not taken place. Depending on a person’s current health condition, the doctor will prescribe you 1 to 4 tablets daily.
- Myth: Immediate medication for HIV treatment is unnecessary. Fact: One needs to start with immediate treatment as prescribed by the doctor. The treatment will include the taking medications named “antiretroviral treatment” in order to stop the virus from spreading to other parts of the body. This helps your immune system to recover by lowering the chance of spreading the virus to others.
- Myth: If suffering from HIV, it will always end with AIDS. Fact: If you are diagnosed with HIV at the early stage, you will not develop with AIDS. But it will depend on the approach of your treatment. Immediate treatment of HIV will stop the chances of developing AIDS. While if you are diagnosed with HIV at the later stage, you might have the chances of developing HIV, which still depends on your medication.
- Myth: Once started with the medication treatment, one cannot spread the virus through sexual intercourse. Fact: Any HIV-infected person once started with the medication treatment can still have the risk of spreading the virus to their partner. Though doctors believe that once continued your treatment for a longer time, it is little to no risk of transfer of the virus. But it is always advisable to use a condom to protect your partner from being infected.
Can you get HIV through oral sex?
The risk of HIV from oral sex is tiny unless you or your partner have large open sores on the genital area or bleeding gums/sores in your mouth. There is only a slightly increased risk if a woman being given oral sex is HIV positive and is menstruating. However, you can always use a dental dam to eliminate these risks.
Can herbal medicine cure HIV?
No. Some people choose to take alternative forms of medicine, such as herbal medicines, as a natural way of treating HIV. However, herbal remedies do not work. Taking herbal medicines can be dangerous as they will not protect your immune system from infection. They may also interact poorly with antiretrovirals if you are taking them alongside treatment. The only way you can stay healthy when living with HIV is to take antiretroviral treatment as prescribed by your doctor or healthcare professional, and to attend viral load monitoring appointments (if available to you) to make sure your treatment is working.
HIV is a death sentence?
HIV is no longer a death sentence, and with modern treatment, HIV can be considered a manageable chronic illness. There are thousands of people living with HIV who lead lives just like HIV negative people. Advances in HIV treatment have made this possible. That’s why it’s important to be on treatment, and ideally, as soon as possible after diagnosis for optimum, long-term health.
It’s really important to take an HIV test every time you think you have been at risk of HIV.
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