Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).While it is a widely spread fatal disease, people are still not aware that HIV does not necessarily lead to AIDS. Although fatal, its symptoms are hard to identify. As the infection progresses, the virus attacks the immune system and makes the person vulnerable to common infections like tuberculosis and tumors which barely infects the people with strong immunity system. Rapid weight loss, recurring fever or profuse night sweats, extreme and unexplained tiredness, prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck, diarrhea, sores of the mouth, anus or genitals later followed by pneumonia are some of the symptoms. These late symptoms of infection are referred to as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
HIV/AIDS has had a great effect on society in many levels. And though many people know about the disease, there are many misconceptions about it. Here, we present you the top 5 myths about HIV/AIDS:
- AIDS is genocide
HIV isn’t a government conspiracy to kill minorities. Rates of infection are higher in African-Americans and Latinos, but that maybe due, in part, to less access to health care and other social and economic factors.
- You cannot get HIV from oral sex
It’s true that oral sex is less risky than some other forms of sex. The rate of transmission is 0 to 4 cases in 10,000 acts. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe. You can still get HIV by having oral sex with either a man or a woman who is HIV-positive. The chances of infection highly increases if one has an open wound or cuts in the mouth or genitals. So, it is better to always use a latex barrier during oral sex.
- Mosquitoes spread HIV
Since the virus is passed through blood, people worry that they might get infected from biting or bloodsucking insects. But, that is not the case. Every virus has its own host body and as soon as it gets out of the host body, it gets passive. Besides, when bugs bite, they don’t inject the blood of the person or animal they bit before you. Also, HIV lives for only a short time inside them. This is why several studies show that the rate of infection is not affected by the number of mosquitoes or HIV patients in that specific area.
- HIV always leads to AIDS
HIV is the virus that leads to the condition called AIDS. This doesn’t mean that all the patients having HIV will develop AIDS. AIDS is a syndrome of immune system deficiency that is the result of HIV attacking the immune system over time and is associated with weakened immune response and opportunistic infections. AIDS can be prevented by early treatment of HIV infection.
Dr. Richard Jimenez, professor of public health at Walden University explains, “With current therapies, levels of HIV infection can be controlled and kept low, maintaining a healthy immune system for a long time and therefore preventing opportunistic infections like tumor and a diagnosis of AIDS.”
- If both partners have HIV, safe sex need not be practiced
Even if both of the sexual partners have HIV, they are highly prone to suffer from AIDS. Wearing condoms or using dental dams can protect you both from each other, possibly drug-resistant, strains of HIV.