It has been more than 25 years since the inception of HIV & AIDS. As deadly both these words are, more deadly are the misconceptions surrounding them. In some cases these can even prove to be more fatal to the victim due to our ignorance resulting in dire consequences. Here are the top 10 misconceptions surrounding HIV AIDS that most of us never bother give a second thought.
1. HIV and AIDS are the same thing
This one is widely believed. Even many educated people are unaware of this fact. HIV is the abbreviation for Human Immunodeficiency Virus; this virus is the cause of AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. A person with HIV doesn’t necessarily have AIDS. The HIV can sometimes remain in a frozen state for many years, so individual may be HIV positive, but he may not come up with positive AIDS tests.
2. AIDS can’t be Cured
Same as the first one, this misconception is also one of the most widespread facts related to HIV AIDS. AIDS can be cured, however there is a catch. AIDS can only be cured if the HIV is detected in the early stages. The reason HIV can’t be cured is because unlike many other viruses, it is extremely hard to find for the medicines or human immune system. There are early symptoms of ones body having HIV:
Possible Symptoms of Early Stage AIDS
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Difficulty remembering phone numbers or appointments.
- Slowed thinking.
- Longer time needed to complete complicated tasks.
- Reliance on list keeping to help track daily activities.
- Mental status tests and other mental capabilities may be normal.
- Unsteady gait (walk) or difficulty keeping balance.
- Poor hand coordination and change in writing.
Don’t be too paranoid even if you happen to have some of these infections, as these are just for average an individual with AIDS. However, I’d recommend a checkup as soon as possible. Do your research regarding the symptoms to be sure.
3. HIV spreads by casual contacts with an infected individual
Another misconception regarding HIV AIDS is that it being a viral disease can spread by causal contact with someone infected. Many believe that just by shaking hands with someone or using the same toilet can get you AIDS. Get this straight, one cannot get AIDS just by hugging, using the same toilet, drinking from the same glass or being exposed to the sneezing or coughing of an infected person.
According to many reports, it is said that even the Saliva contains a negotiable amount of viral material, so the spread of AIDS through kissing is also considered an act of minimal risk.
4. AIDS affected individuals looks different
Most of the images and documentaries you can find show that the AIDS affected individuals having pale skin with skinny build and overall weak physique. However, this is not the case. In fact, these kind of symptoms can take a long time to occur and eventually can’t be expected to be a sure cause of AIDS. Actually, an AIDS affected individuals can’t be differentiated based on their appearance.
5. HIV can be transmitted via. mosquitoes
HIV does not spread through mosquitoes bites. When mosquitoes bite a person, they never inject the blood of the victim to the person they bite next. You may ask, If malaria can be transmitted through a mosquito’s bite, why not HIV? Well, it turns out, Mosquitoes inject their saliva into their victims, which can carry the diseases like malaria and West Nile virus. However, if the mosquitoes have HIV infected blood in its body and if busted into the skin of an individual who then scratches it, the person can get AIDS through this way. Any cases by this method have never been reported, though.
6. Women infected with HIV can’t have childrens
This is new to me, but is still somewhat widespread. It is said that the women infected with HIV can’t get pregnant, thus can’t have babies. It is not so, because, HIV infected women have normal fertility as any other women may have. However, the risk of miscarriage is very high among those women, so it is true but very slightly.
7. Children of HIV infected women are sure to have AIDS
Even I believed this, until I did some research for this post. It is a widespread myth that the children of an HIV infected women are sure to have AIDS. This is not so, because the risk of the transmission of HIV to the unborn child is somewhat between 15–30% according to scientific results. It is even possible to reduce the risk of the spread of AIDS by up to 2–3% by following the proper medical guidelines.
8. HIV is the only cause of AIDS
This one is a big lie! HIV is not necessarily the cause of AIDS, because many HIV victims never develop AIDS. Actually the average time an HIV infected person takes to show the symptoms AIDS is approximately 10 years in most of the modern countries, so one may have HIV in them, but would never get any apparent symptoms of AIDS.
9. HIV AIDS is different from other diseases
AIDS is nothing more than a consequence of HIV in the victim’s body. Due to over publicity, it has become one of the most famous pandemics of all time. Thanks to this, AIDS related organisations receive billions of dollars from the global economy annually. However, this is not such as proclaimed. AIDS is just another disease and due to its huge popularity overshadows many other deadly sinners like pneumonia and diarrhea. These diseases kill more people annually than AIDS, but receive a fairly small fraction of funds as compared to AIDS. AIDS is not any special disease, but due to the media hype has become a common name among people.
10. AIDS is gender, sex or ethnicity specific
Many people believe that AIDS is characteristic specific and can’t or won’t occur to those belonging to a specific gender, sex or ethnicity. Many also believe that it is a Gay men’s disease, but that is not so. In fact, AIDS can infect anybody regardless of his age, sex, ethnicity, colour or sexual orientation. Often we see children of black people crying; just do a google search for “children affected with aids” and you’ll know for sure.
These are some of the most common misconceptions surrounding HIV AIDS among general people. I know that there numerous more, but all those can’t be mentioned here. If you have more in your mind, hit the comments section to give us your thoughts.