7 Myths of AIDS

Posted October 10, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read

HIV has always been wrapped up in misinformation and stigma. And as we know from pandemic life, all of this can most likely be linked to fear.

Myth 1: HIV affects childbirth and fertility


  • HIV does not affect fertility and childbirth, especially for women who are receiving appropriate and adequate treatment.

  • However, not taking medications while been pregnant can lead to mother-to-child transmission (MTCT).

  • Pregnant women who are living with HIV should continue treatment or medications as recommended.

Myth 2: You can tell that someone is living with HIV by looking at them


  • No, you cannot identify people who are living with HIV by mere physical appearance.

  • You cannot identify HIV-positive people by the symptoms they have.

  • They may not have any specific symptoms or have symptoms suggestive of other health conditions, says Dr. Goje.

Myth 3: If you’re on PrEP, you don’t need to use condoms

  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) helps protect people who might be at high risk for HIV through sex or injection drug use.

  • Taking PrEP medication as prescribed reduces the risk of contracting HIV through sexual contact by about 99% and reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% among people who inject drugs.

  • PrEP does not decrease the risk of other STDs.

  • So we must continue to advocate for both PrEP and the consistent and correct use of condoms

Myth 4: HIV medications can cure HIV


  • Medication for HIV is also known as antiretroviral therapy (ART).

  • It doesn’t cure HIV, but when taken as prescribed, ART can reduce the amount of the virus in the body.

  • The doctors says most people are able to get the virus under control within six months.

  • Another thing to keep in mind is that ART will not prevent the transmission of STDs or STIs.

  • And while there have been reports about HIV being cleared from the body in a couple of cases, doctor says this is not a valid reason for people who are living with HIV to stop ART.

Myth 5: Having HIV means your life is over


  • With early diagnosis, surveillance and ART, those who are living with the virus can enjoy healthy and purposeful lives.

  • They can also work and have meaningful relationships with partners, friends and family.

Myth 6: HIV always leads to AIDS.


  • HIV is the infection that causes AIDS.

  • But this doesn’t mean all HIV-positive individuals will develop AIDS.

  • AIDS is a syndrome of immune system deficiency that is the result of HIV attacking the immune system over time and is associated with weakened immune response and opportunistic infections.

  • AIDS is prevented by early treatment of HIV infection.

  • With current therapies, levels of HIV infection can be controlled and kept low, maintaining a healthy immune system for a long time and therefore preventing opportunistic infections and a diagnosis of AIDS.

Myth 7: With all of the modern treatments, HIV is no big deal.


  • Although there have been a lot of medical advancements in the treatment of HIV, the virus can still lead to complications, and the risk of death is still significant for certain groups of people.

  • The risk of acquiring HIV and how it affects a person varies based on age, gender, sexuality, lifestyle, and treatment.

  • The CDC has a Risk Reduction Tool that can help a person estimate their individual risk and take steps to protect themselves.

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