HIV/AIDS Myths: Fact or Fiction?
Despite widespread public education, myths concerning HIV and AIDS still abound. The following examples are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to facts vs. fiction on the subjects of HIV and AIDS. These damaging myths continue to promote prejudice and stigma in our society. .
Common Myths And Facts About HIV/AIDs
MYTH: There is no difference between HIV and AIDS
FACT: HIV and AIDS are quite distinct. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the underlying cause of AIDS, however not all HIV-positive individuals have or develop AIDS. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is a collection of diseases and infections that are the result of a deficient immune system.
MYTH: HIV is curable
FACT: Thanks to advances in medical treatment, HIV infection can be reduced to a chronic but survivable condition in many cases. Unfortunately, however, there is currently no known cure for HIV/AIDS.
MYTH: If you have HIV or AIDS you will die.
FACT: HIV/AIDS individuals are living longer today than ever before, thanks to better understandings of these illnesses and to advances in medications and treatment protocols.
MYTH: You can contract AIDS from casual contact with an HIV-positive individual
FACT: Contrary to popular myth, HIV does not "spread" in any of the following situations: casual contact in social, work or school settings; shaking someone's hand; hugging and kissing; drinking from the same glass; exposure to an infected person's coughing or sneezing; using the same toilet.
On the other hand, one can potentially contract or transmit the disease from contact with blood from open cuts, sores, gum disease; nose bleeds; and biting.
MYTH: HIV cannot be transmitted through oral sex
FACT: While the risk of HIV infection is much lower during oral sex than vaginal or anal sex, one can in fact transmit HIV via oral sex if semen or vaginal fluid contact the mucus membranes of the mouth. The risk increases in cases of open sores on the mouth or genitals, bleeding, and gum disease.
MYTH: If you already have HIV/AIDS you don't need to use a condom
FACT: The numbers of re-occurring infections are on the rise, alarming doctors and making the treatment of HIV and AIDS even more difficult.
MYTH: HIV-infected females cannot bear children
FACT: Women with HIV are still fertile, although in late stages of HIV a pregnant woman is at greater risk for a miscarriage.
MYTH: Only homosexuals and drug users can contract HIV
FACT: Anyone can be affected by HIV; HIV does not distinguish between sex, sexual orientation, age, or ethnicity. Therefore it is essential to always use a condom while engaging in sexual activity.
MYTH: Condoms Don't Work
FACT: Latex condoms provide a nearly 100% effective barrier against microorganisms, including HIV. When used properly and consistently, condoms work! However, condoms can break if not enough lubricant is used, if stored incorrectly, or if they are past their expiry date.