There are many myths and truths behind HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus. Nonetheless, you should be aware of this condition and what it means for those who have it. Here are a few of the popular myths and truths about HIV.
Myth #1: Touching someone with HIV will infect the other person.
The truth is HIV does not spread through touching. Since the virus causing HIV cannot survive outside the body of a person, you will not get affected by HIV if you touch, hug, or kiss an infected person. Similarly, if you share the same utensil or breathe the same air, you will not become infected.
HIV passes through body fluid and blood of an infected person. Thus, you are more likely to get HIV if you have unprotected sex with an affected person or share a needle with them, or accepts blood from such a person.
Myth #2: Mosquitos spread HIV.
People believe that since HIV can be spread through blood, mosquitos or other blood-sucking insects can spread HIV infection.
HIV is not an infection that gets spread through a mosquito bite. When a mosquito bites, it sucks your blood. It does not inject the blood of the person whom they bit before. Even if the mosquito bites an HIV positive person, the virus cannot survive inside the body of the mosquito. Thus, it is not possible for mosquito or other blood-sucking insects to spread HIV.
Myth #3: HIV cannot spread through oral sex.
Although HIV infestation through oral sex is negligible when compared to other sources, it cannot be completely ignored. The chances are low, perhaps even nonexistent, but there is a possibility nonetheless.
Myth #4: You can figure out an HIV person from the symptoms.
Once a person is infected with HIV, they may not show any symptoms. They might even look healthy for years. However, the symptoms vary from person to person. Certain symptoms like fever or fatigue are very similar to the symptoms of other types of infections. Initially, the symptoms last only for a few weeks, making it difficult to conclude whether or not that person is HIV positive.
Myth #5: HIV will not spread if you are undergoing treatment.
When you are under antiretroviral drugs, the virus count in your blood comes down drastically, and it does not show up in a blood test. This is known as undetectable viral load. This only means that the viral load is less. There is always a chance for the virus level to increase during treatment. Your chance of spreading HIV comes down drastically, but it is not zero.
Myth #6: If both the partners are HIV positive, then there is no need to worry. You can have unprotected sex and even share needles.
This is false. There are different strains of HIV, and if you do not protect yourself while having sex, there is a chance that you might contract a different strain of the infection. Moreover, the chances of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases are also very high if you have unprotected sex.
Myth #7: People who are straight do not have to worry about HIV.
It is true that the incidence of HIV is high among homosexuals. This does not mean, however, that heterosexuals do not contract HIV. If you have unprotected sex with an HIV infected person, then you are more likely to get infected irrespective of whether the person is of the same gender or not.
Myth #8: HIV positive people can have only HIV positive children.
Because of the advancement in the field of medicine, it is now possible for an HIV positive woman to deliver a baby who is not HIV positive. If your doctor prescribes you medicine, then you should take it throughout the pregnancy and continue giving the medicine to the baby as well after birth. If proper medication is taken, then the chances of the baby contracting the disease are very low.
Moreover, it is safe to refrain from feeding the baby, as breastmilk is one of the body fluids that can transmit HIV.
Myth #9: Contracting HIV is the end of your life.
Many years ago when there was no specific treatment for HIV, contracting the disease was the end of your life. It is not the case anymore. There are effective drugs that can extend your lifespan and provide you with many productive years. As long as you take the prescribed medication, you can live a normal life.
HIV is not the end of life. If proper tests and medication is taken at the right time, then you can keep the virus suppressed and lead a fruitful and productive life.
For more information
Myths about HIV persist even today, but there is good reason to doubt them. For more information, contact MississippiCare at (866) 608-1834 to speak with a healthcare professional.