HIV/AIDS is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world today that has killed millions of people to date. Certain myths and misconceptions have prompted behaviors that have impaired the HIV/AIDS Pandemic Control Measures by the governments, social welfare, health organizations and other bodies.
Here are a few:
1 With the introduction of antiretroviral drugs, many people believe that there is no worry of getting infected since there will be medication to keep them well. Therefore, they ignore control and prevention measures. Even though it is true that antiretroviral drugs improve and extend the lives of those infected with HIV/AIDS, these drugs come with serious side effects. Those with low income might also strain financially as they use large portions of their income to buy drugs.
2 Another myth is that patients receiving HIV treatment cannot spread the virus to healthy individuals. Drugs can reduce the amount of virus in the body, but research shows that even if you get negative blood tests, the virus might still be hiding in other body parts.
3 Some people believe that they can tell if their partner is HIV positive by just looking at them. Unfortunately, one might be infected and show no symptoms – even for years. For those who are sexually active, it is critical to check their status through blood testing and not a mere observation of symptoms.
4 Another common myth is that you cannot get HIV from body piercing or tattoos. Piercing and tattoos involve use of needles to pierce through the flesh. So using needles and other tools that have been used by an infected person and not properly sterilized could result in HIV infection. According to the Centers for Disease prevention and control, tools that cut through the skin should either be used once or thrown away after use.
5 The belief that pregnant women who are HIV-positive will give birth to infected babies is another myth that has led to an increase of HIV cases. HIV-positive pregnant women can get treatment and care so as to ensure that their babies are not infected. Failure to seek help in preventing mother to child transition results in new cases of HIV that could have been prevented.
6 Additionally, the belief that oral sex is safe has impaired the control of HIV. Even though it is arguably safer, there is a risk associated and a chance of infection. One should consider using a latex barrier so as to eliminate the risk of infection.
Maggie Martin is completing her PhD in Cell Biology, works as a lab tech for Mybiosource.com and administered ELISA kits in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. She contributes content on Biotech, Life Sciences, and Viral Outbreaks. Follow on Twitter @MaggieBiosource