HIV and AIDS are usually interchanged with one another. They are indeed related but are not the same condition neither are they really different.
Both diseases are complimentary. AIDS is considered more as a complicated and advanced stage of HIV. In addition, there are plenty of misconceptions about these two conditions.
While it is true that the mortality rate of HIV/AIDS has gone down over the years, it is still vital to distinguish facts from myths when it comes to these two medical conditions.
Here are the top 10 misconceptions about these two conditions.
1) It is not possible to spread the virus if you are taking HIV medications.
If an HIV positive person takes the right medications regularly and is closely followed by a doctor to control the disease, it is harder to transmit the disease to another person through sexual practices. But they still can get the other person infected through other ways.
Even if an HIV-infected individual is taking medication for it, they can still pass on the virus to others through contact with their blood or other bodily fluids, sharing of needles, engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse.
2) HIV and AIDS are two different conditions caused by two different viruses.
The truth is that HIV, if not treated, will cause the person’s immune system to break down and eventually complicate into AIDS. Simply, AIDS can be considered the “advanced stage” of HIV.
On the other hand, most HIV-positive individuals who have undergone timely and regular HIV treatment manage to delay or avoid altogether the development of AIDS.
3) If a person has HIV, they would surely know it.
This is not true. In fact, some HIV-positive individuals have no idea they have it because they do not experience any symptoms. In some cases, it can even take up to 10 years before any symptoms manifest.
The only accurate way to determine if a person is HIV-positive is to undergo medical testing. It is recommended for anybody that is sexually active to get tested regularly.
4) HIV can be spread through mosquito bites.
There are plenty of serious conditions that can be spread through mosquito bites such as dengue and malaria, but there is no medical proof or instance where a person contracted HIV through a mosquito bite.
If it was indeed possible to spread HIV through insect bites, the number of HIV cases worldwide should be dramatically higher.
5) HIV cannot be contracted or spread through oral sex.
This is another believed misconception. If an individual performing oral sex has a wound or cut in their mouth and it comes in contact with any bodily fluid of an HIV-positive person, they can also contract the virus.
This applies to anal or vaginal sex as well. In order to lower the risk significantly, it is recommended to use a condom or a dental dam when engaging in oral sex.
6) If both partners are HIV-positive, it is safe for them to engage in sexual relations.
If you and your partner are both infected with HIV, it does not mean you can just go on with your lives the same way you did before.
As mentioned earlier, if HIV goes untreated, it could complicate into AIDS. Thus, both you and your partner should consult your trusted doctor immediately to get treated.
Aside from HIV medications, your doctor would also discuss with you some lifestyle changes that you need to make and measures you need to take to best manage your condition and prevent yourself from spreading the virus to others.
7) If you are HIV-positive, eventually you will die from AIDS.
This is not true because not all HIV cases complicate into AIDS. Again, just like any condition, if HIV gets treated early, the chances of it developing into AIDS decreases greatly.
There are many treatment options for HIV, including therapies, lifestyle changes, and medications. Speak with your doctor to learn more about the various options.
8) It is possible to cure HIV.
Currently, a cure for HIV still hasn’t been developed. The existing treatments and medications are designed only to delay or prevent the complication of it into AIDS for years, decades, or even a lifetime.
They would basically just help the HIV-infected person better manage their condition and cope with the symptoms. But a cure that would completely eradicate the virus is yet to be developed.
9) HIV can be contracted by sitting on a toilet seat.
HIV cannot be spread through casual contact. It cannot be treated because your skin was in contact with a toilet seat, or similar surfaces such as a doorknob, utensils, or even through holding hands, for that matter.
HIV can only be transmitted through the following:
- A pregnant woman can pass the virus to her child while still in the womb
- Exposure to bodily fluids or blood of an HIV-positive individual
- Sharing of needles with an HIV-positive individual
- Unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV-positive individual
10) The HIV test itself can give you HIV.
This is not possible unless the clinic or hospital reuse a syringe or needle already used earlier by an HIV-positive person.
Of course, this is extremely unlikely as it violates the rules and standards on safety and hygiene. But taking an HIV test itself using a new needle definitely, would not give a person HIV.
To learn more about HIV and/or AIDS click on the links below and read some more.