Facts and myths surrounding HIV AIDS

November 12, 2012

Facts and myths surrounding HIV AIDS

There are many myths surrounding HIV AIDS, facts about the infection and the disease.

Having HIV means you have AIDS – FALSE

It is possible to have the HIV infection for many years without developing AIDS. Whilst HIV AIDS do occur together AIDS is only diagnosed once an individual has a CD4 cell count of below 200.

You can’t get HIV AIDS from casual contact РTRUE

HIV AIDS is transmitted via bodily fluids – this means it is contracted via unprotected sex, sharing needles or having a tattoo or piercing with unsterilized equipment. The rigorous testing of blood supplies means that it is now very rare to become infected from a blood transfusion or blood products.

It is impossible to contract HIV AIDS from hugging someone, kissing or sharing utensils and linens.

You have a vastly reduced life expectancy- FALSE

No two people will have the same experience of HIV AIDS and it is impossible to place a definitive figure on life expectancy for those with the disease. Some patients will develop AIDS soon after infection and may have a life expectancy of only a few months, many others can live for decades with the infection. Following the recommendations and advice of your medical practitioner and getting regular check-ups will help prevent your HIV infection developing into AIDS.

You know you have HIV because of the symptoms -FALSE

Many of those infected with HIV show no signs of infection for many years. Vague flu-like symptoms may appear shortly after infection but usually disappear after a few weeks, individuals then frequently remain symptom free for a number of years.

The only way to discover whether you have HIV is to be tested by your medical practitioner.

HIV can be cured – FALSE

There is currently no cure for HIV; however the right treatment regime can help maintain the immune system and keep levels of the virus low. Your medical practitioner will make the decision about when to start a treatment program based on your general, overall health, your viral load and immune system function.

Anyone can get HIV – TRUE

HIV respects neither age, gender, race nor sexual preference although it is statistically proven that men make up more than half of all new cases.

If both partners are infected sex is safe – FALSE

Practising safe sex is essential in order to protect you from being infected with any sexually transmitted disease or a different strain of HIV. It is possible to infect someone even when you feel well – condom use should be a matter of course.

You can still have a baby if you have HIV – TRUE

Pregnant women who are infected with HIV can reduce the risk of passing the virus to their unborn baby by taking the medications prescribed for their infection and getting the appropriate medical care during pregnancy and labour.

You will catch other HIV related infections – FALSE

Whilst a weakened immune system does make those infected with HIV more vulnerable to other infections a good treatment program with the right drug regime will reduce the risk of becoming infected with other viruses or bacteria. Some infections can be prevented by drugs and steps can be taken to reduce the risk of exposure to possible infection.

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