On World AIDS Day, the numbers on AIDS statistics are not too good. According to UNAIDS, by the end of the year 2015, there are 36.7 million reported cases of AIDS around the world, 2.1 million new cases of AIDS, 1.1 million deaths caused due to health issues related to AIDS and a staggering 1.8 million children infected with HIV.
With so much information available out there, it can get difficult to separate the fact from myth. Here are some of the most common myths about HIV and AIDS that are often mistaken as fact.
7 Common AIDS Myths Busted
1. It Can Be Treated If Diagnosed On Time – MYTH
Fact – It cannot be treated. Till date, there is no known cure for HIV/AIDS, and no form of vaccination or medication is available to treat or control the same. It is true that there are new drugs coming out in the market that can extend the lives of some patients affected with the HIV positive condition. However, these drugs cannot provide any form of cure and cannot treat the patient.
2. Mosquito Bites Can Cause HIV – MYTH
Fact – Mosquitoes cannot spread HIV/AIDS. While it is true that HIV spreads through contaminated blood, a mosquito biting an infected person cannot spread the disease further. The first reason for this is that mosquitoes do not inject blood into a person when they bite. Also, the HIV virus lives for a very short amount of time inside an insect, and cannot be transmitted till the next bite.
3. Only Those Involved In Same Sex Relationships Get AIDS – MYTH
Fact – It can affect anyone regardless of their sexual preferences. It can happen to a straight person, a gay, a lesbian, a bi-sexual and absolutely anyone. Anyone who comes in contact with the infected blood, whether in the form of sex or in any other way, is at a high risk of getting affected with AIDS.
4. Touching An Infected Person Can Give You AIDS – MYTH
Fact – HIV/AIDS does not spread with regular physical contact, sweat or touching something that an infected person touched. Being in close proximity with an infected person, breathing in the same air, touching a surface that is touched by the person, sharing the same utensil used by the infected person, hugging, kissing, holding hands with an infected person CANNOT spread the disease.
5. Oral Sex Cannot Cause AIDS – MYTH
Fact – Oral sex can also cause AIDS, if one person is infected. It is true that oral sex is less risky than other forms of sex that can spread AIDS. However, if one of the partners is already infected with the disease, it can definitely spread AIDS. Using a condom even while indulging in oral sex can definitely reduce the risk.
6. Being In A Straight Relationship Will Not Cause AIDS, If There Are No Symptoms – MYTH
Fact – The symptoms for AIDS may take years to show up. It is true that there are some symptoms of AIDS such as excessive fatigue, sudden weight loss, night sweat or sweating, ulcers in the mouth, whitish cast on the tongue, abdominal pain, fever, recurrent infections and more. However, in most cases, the symptoms may not show up for years, and even when they do, it is easy to confuse them with some other health issue.
7. Using Birth Control Pill Will Prevent AIDS – MYTH
Fact – Using a birth control pill each time you have sex cannot prevent AIDS. In fact, the only safest bet to prevent AIDS while having sex is to always use a condom, even if you have only one sexual partner. However, there are two pills that are available to help reduce the risk of HIV. One is known as the PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) pill that you have to take once a day to prevent the infection. The other is known as the PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) pill that you have to take after you have come in contact with the HIV infection.
While there is no cure for AIDS yet, the best way to keep yourself and your partner safe is by regularly going for an AIDS test, along with maintaining one sexual partner and practicing safe sex.