By Maggie Martin
With over 35 million people living with HIV, it’s safe to say that this is one of the top health concerns in the world. The WHO says that half of the people who are infected are not even aware of it. There’s also a lot of misinformation spreading about HIV. Here are the top 6 most common misconceptions about the disease.
Myth 1: You can tell someone has HIV by looking at them
HIV symptoms can develop soon after being exposed to the virus. The initial symptoms such as fever, fatigue, muscle aches and pain can last several weeks after exposure to the virus. But for many people, the condition can thrive in their body for up to 10 years without showing any symptoms.
Myth 2: You can’t have HIV negative children if you the disease
Even though there is no guarantee that your child is going to be HIV negative, it is possible to safely have children once infected with the virus. By taking ARVs before and during pregnancy, pregnant women can significantly reduce the risk of passing on the virus to their unborn child.
Myth 3: HIV must lead to AIDS
An individual may have HIV but not develop AIDs. Current medical therapies allow people to live with the virus for many years without progressing to AIDS. The drugs used today are able to control the virus levels and keep them very low by strengthening the immune system. Modern therapies can be used to prevent opportunistic infections and diagnosis of AIDS.
Myth 4: No need to use a condom if you and your partner have HIV
HIV comes in different strains. The reason why it is important to use a condom when infected is to avoid more complications caused when different strains of the virus collide. You may develop a new strain of the disease that resists drugs and therefore succumb due to no treatment options available.
Myth 5: You can contract HIV by being around positive people
There’s enough evidence to show that HIV doesn’t spread by breathing the same air, using the same utensils or hugging an infected person. In fact, HIV cannot be spread through touch, tears, sweat or saliva. The virus is only transmitted through the blood stream, semen, vaginal fluid or mother’s breast milk.
Mtyh 6: HIV can be transmitted from mosquitoes
Since the virus is spread through blood, many people believe that it can be spread through mosquito bites. There is no evidence to show this. The virus only lives for a very short time inside an insect.