myths and misconceptions
the human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that
causes AIDS. For many reasons, AIDS is a disease that
is commonly misunderstood disease and, as a result,
But the best weapon against fear is knowledge. Following
are the facts about some of the most common myths
and misconceptions about AIDS.
#1: I shouldn't work or be friends with someone who's
HIV positive because I might get it.
You can't get HIV through casual contact. In other
words, you can't get AIDS by being in the same room,
living in the same house, hugging or even kissing
someone with the disease. HIV isn't transmitted by
touch or through saliva. It is transmitted through
sexual activity or through the sharing of needles
in intravenous drug use.
Myth #2: I can't get HIV from
my boyfriend or girlfriend because I know this person
loves me, and I trust him or her.
This can be a potentially deadly misconception. While
it's true that people who love each other wouldn't
intentionally give each other HIV, it's also true
that one partner in a relationship can be HIV-positive
and not know it. A person can have HIV for years and
not show any symptoms. Even if you are in love, the
only way for you to know for sure is if you're both
Myth #3: There's a cure for
HIV and AIDS.
Current treatments for this deadly disease are better
than ever, but the bottom line is that these treatments
only help prolong life, not cure the disease itself.
When the treatments work, there's so little virus
in the blood that blood tests can't detect it. However,
research on patients with this "undetectable"
level has shown that the virus is still there, hiding
in a sleeplike state in the lymph nodes and other
areas of the body. People whose HIV is in this state
are probably in something similar to remission, and
they must continue taking their medications to stay
well. They can also still give HIV to someone else,
so they should still practice safe sex.
Myth #4: I don't want to be
tested, because if I find out I have HIV, my life
is over anyway.
While finding out you're HIV-positive is devastating,
it's important to get tested as soon as possible if
you think you could be. The sooner you find out, the
better your chances of responding well to the current
treatment options, which are better than ever before.
People with HIV are feeling better and living longer.
While there's not yet a cure for AIDS, we hope that,
in time, HIV may become an even more manageable illness,
much like heart disease or diabetes.
Myth #5: I won't get HIV because
I'm straight and I don't use IV drugs.
In fact, HIV rates continue to rise among heterosexuals.
People who have multiple sexual partners are at the
highest risk. Unfortunately, sometimes people are
reluctant to tell potential sexual partners that they've
had a lot of past encounters. So practice safe sex,
get yourself tested, and get your partner tested,