As we recognize World AIDS Day today, its imperative that we continue to raise awareness and educate the masses. Being responsible and protecting ourselves and others is one of our main goals.
Even in 2010 there are many men and women who still don’t know a lot about HIV and AIDS. That may be one of the reasons the number of people contracting HIV is on the rise. If you’re still unsure about what HIV and AIDS is and scared to entertain to ask and know more, Blackdoctor.org delivers the top 10 myths. Check them out!
1. If you test positive for HIV, you will inevitably die from AIDS.
FALSE. In the early years, an HIV diagnosis often meant the infected person would develop AIDS and die from complications of the disease within a matter of years, but this is no longer true. Medications, combined with lifestyle changes and complementary therapies that support the body’s ability to keep the virus in check, can keep an HIV-infected person from developing AIDS or the fatal complications associated with it for many years, or even a lifetime.
2. You can catch HIV from a toilet seat.
FALSE. The HIV virus cannot be transmitted by casual contact, from a toilet seat, a doorknob, a fork, or a handshake, for that matter. The only known HIV transmission methods include unprotected sex, intravenous drug use, exposure to blood or bodily fluids from an infected person, from mother to child in pregnancy, and through blood transfusions if the blood came from an HIV infected person. (Transmission of the virus did happen through blood transfusions or blood products in the 1980s before HIV testing became routine for all donated blood, but is highly unlikely to happen in a modern medical facility.)
3. There is no cure for HIV.
TRUE. There are medications available to suppress the virus in infected individuals and to lower their viral load. Such treatments can prolong or prevent the development of AIDS for years or even a lifetime. However, researchers have not found a cure for HIV that would eliminate the virus from an infected person’s body entirely.
4. People have been infected with HIV from taking the HIV test itself.
FALSE. Some claim that the HIV test itself can give you the virus. But unless a clinic reuses a needle that was previously used on someone with HIV (a highly unlikely scenario that has never been reported), there is no way that testing for HIV could cause the infection.
5. You can spread or get HIV through oral sex.
TRUE. One myth HIV experts often hear is that HIV can’t be spread or contracted through oral sex. This is not true. If the person performing oral sex has a cut or abrasion in their mouth and comes in contact with HIV-infected bodily fluids, they can become infected with the virus just as they could having unprotected vaginal or anal sex. Using a dental dam or condom during oral sex greatly diminishes this risk.