Gross Archive

Myths and Misconceptions about HIV/AIDS

Jan 30, 2021 By Kayode Oseh 1.3K

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions still hovering around the idea of HIV and all that we know about it. It goes without saying that this disease still retains top position among the most dreaded diseases in the world even when there have been lots of medical breakthroughs, that are shinning some bright light of hope. According to the latest statistics, around 37 million people are living with HIV around the world. While there have been much medical and psychological advancement in the management of the HIV virus and patients throughout the years, sadly, a lot of misinformation still exists about what it means to live with HIV. This misinformation and misconception all together formed a myth that needs to be resolved. 

After HIV comes death.

HIV is not a death sentence. So many people need to be educated on this disease and all that it represents. There are still a lot who believe that having HIV means that you’ve met your doom. However, this is a very big misconception about what has been known about the disease. Medical approaches to HIV have been improved upon over the years and because of that, the threats in it have been reduced to the barest minimum. With the advancement in antiretroviral therapy, people living with this disease are now expected to live a normal life span as long as they stick to a proper treatment. 

You can tell if someone has HIV/AIDS by looking at them.

You can hardly identify anyone living with HIV. Antiretroviral therapies are so effective that when introduced early enough, the HIV virus can be effectively managed. An infected person who receives antiretroviral treatments is relatively healthy like a normal person and is no different from the individuals who have chronic health conditions. HIV symptoms are normal symptom that anyone could display when they are unhealthy and because of this, HIV is unremarkable, you hardly identify anyone living with it.

HIV-positive people can not safely have children.

It is an error to think that a women living with this virus cannot safely deliver an HIV free baby. Pregnant mothers who stick to their antiretroviral medications diligently can give birth to babies born without HIV. It has been shown that women who take their HIV medicine as recommended by a healthcare provider throughout their entire pregnancy which includes labor and delivery, and continues the medication for her baby for around 6 weeks after birth, has a little chances of transmitting the virus to her baby. The risk could be as low as 1 to 0%. 

A Healthy Person Cannot Marry an HIV Person

It is another misconception that a healthy person cannot marry an infected person. With the invention and improvement of HIV prophylaxis, a healthy person can marry and make babies with an HIV infected person without him or her and the baby getting infected. There are several marriages where one partner is infected and the other is not yet they live together and make a healthy and HIV free babies. This is actually possible when both partners stick to a proper HIV prophylaxis.  

HIV always leads to AIDS.

HIV is a Human Immune Virus while AIDS means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. These are two different things that should not be confused with each other. Early detection and treatment of HIV prevents the development of AIDS. AIDS occur when HIV is left to attacks the immune system over a long period of time without any proper treatment. It is a syndrome of immune system deficiency that gives room for opportunistic infections. 

According to medical experts, with proper antiretroviral therapies, levels of HIV infection can be controlled and kept low, maintaining a healthy immune system over a long time and therefore preventing opportunistic infections and a the diagnosis of AIDS. 

Bottom line

Although there is no known cure for HIV, however, people living with it can still live a normal life span and make a healthy family, when they adhere to a proper antiretroviral treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV can prevent the development of AIDS, the stage where the immune system becomes deficient in abilities, giving rooms for opportunistic infections. 

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