In commemoration of awareness about the widespread Human Immunodeficiency Virus and by extension the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), we will use this medium to touch on some of the common misconceptions people have about HIV and persons living with it.
Even though we have made advancements in the management of HIV in recent years, sadly, there is still a great deal of misinformation that exists surrounding what it means to live with HIV.
HIV is a death sentence:
Contrary to what most people think, HIV can be effectively managed. With the discovery of standard HIV antibody testing and adequate antiretroviral therapy, individuals with HIV can have normal life spans by sticking to their prescribed medications and treatments.
You can have unprotected sex after testing negative for HIV:
A positive HIV status can only be detected by an HIV antibody test, some weeks or months after an individual has been exposed to the virus. Therefore, getting a negative test result, at any point, is never a green light to engage in unprotected sexual intercourse. It is important to always discuss your sexual history with your partner and speak with a healthcare provider to ascertain your status constantly.
You can tell if a person has HIV by looking at them:
Well, this is a popular one. There is absolutely no way you can predict if someone has HIV just by looking at them (no matter how hard you stare). If an individual has contracted the virus, they may show symptoms that are often associated with other types of infections, such as fever and general weakness of the body.
HIV always results in AIDS:
Although HIV and AIDS are often talked about together, they are not the same. The difference is, while HIV is responsible for AIDS, not all HIV-positive persons will develop AIDS eventually. AIDS, itself, can be prevented by early diagnosis and treatment of the HIV infection.
You cannot have healthy children when you are HIV positive:
An access to anti-retroviral therapy can help people living with HIV plan the entire process of pregnancy. By sticking to the recommended doses of prescribed medicines throughout the child-bearing period, the risks of transmitting HIV to an offspring are very small. Additionally, there are avenues for a person with HIV to reduce the chances of transmission of the infection, in cases where the viral load is higher than desired, by choosing between alternatives during child delivery.
Remember, after early detection, a person with HIV who enrolls for antiretroviral treatment is relatively healthy and is no different from other people who have chronic health conditions. Book an HIV antibody test with us today and know your status so that you can live a healthy and full life.