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.