Top 5 Common HIV Misconceptions
The Human Immuno Deficiency Virus, commonly known as “HIV” has been classified as one of the deadliest diseases in the world. According to the statistics from the World Health Organization, the disease has killed between 23.6 and 43.8 million individuals globally since its onset. Nevertheless, many things have been said about HIV, some of which are accurate whereas others qualifying as absolute hogwash. Having said that, here are the top 5 common misconceptions about HIV:
Misconception 1: Circumcision Makes One Immune to HIV
This is a very common misconception about the virus, especially among the people living in Africa where circumcision is an important part of many tribes’ traditions. While research suggests that the removal of the skin at the end of a man’s or penis for one reason or another helps prevent HIV by up to 60%, this act doesn’t entirely keep the virus at bay. Therefore, people shouldn’t use circumcision as an excuse to be sexually reckless.
Misconception 2: You Can Tell an HIV Positive Person at a Glance
In as much as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus does bring with it a number of visible symptoms such as relentless spots(purple in color) on the patient’s skin, swollen lymph nodes in his or her neck and/or groin area, and weight loss, it’s very difficult to tell whether or not a person is HIV positive, at a glance, these days. That’s due to the patients’ use of antiretroviral drugs(ARVs), which have the ability to make these symptoms go away. As a matter of fact, some of those drugs will make a patient have a healthy, glowing skin and also gain some weight, making those who peer at him or her to no suspect anything!
Misconception 3: Condoms Prevent HIV Entirely
According to studies, condoms are between 90 to 95% effective at preventing HIV when used appropriately. However, that’s just for genuine condoms not to mention the fact that there is an influx of counterfeit condoms, which are far less effective than that, on the market nowadays. Having said that, it’s a good idea to stick to one partner together with whom you have been tested and found to be HIV negative.
Misconception 4: HIV Is a Death Certificate
As ridiculous as it sounds, some people still believe that HIV is basically like a death sentence. However, the reality is that this virus isn’t that now, thanks to antiretroviral drugs, which extended the lifespans of patients by decades. Unlike in the past years when the average lifespan of HIV infected persons was barely 20 years, today people who live on ARVs can stay survive up to 70 years, which is just about the average lifespan of a human being.
Misconception 5:HIV Can Only be Transmitted Through Blood
It comes as no surprise that despite the new information age, a lot of people out there still assume that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus can only be transferred through blood. While blood is the most common mode of transmission, it’s worth noting that the virus can also be transmitted through other body fluids such as semen, pre-seminal fluids, breast milk, rectal fluids as well as vaginal fluids. That explains why mothers who are infected with the virus are not advised to give their breast milk to their children.
HIV misconceptions have been singled out as some of the major factors that derail the efforts to wipe out the virus from the face of the earth, in one way or another. For example, due to oblivious beliefs that circumcision and the use of condoms is a sure way to remain safe even when you are sexually reckless, a lot of people have ended up contracting the virus. Circumcision or wearing of condoms doesn’t make you immune to HIV.
Nevertheless, you cannot tell if a person is HIV positive or negative just at a glance! In addition, this virus is not a death sentence. Finally, HIV can be transmitted through many other modes apart from blood, such as semen, pre-seminal fluids, breast milk, rectal fluids as well as vaginal fluids.