Wednesday, January 19, 2022

HIV/AIDS: Dispelling the myths!

The fight against HIV/AIDS started a long time back; I think you will agree with me. There are still a lot of myths though. They are varied across all generations, and this time we decided to dispel all that we know!

HIV is witchcraft!

No! HIV is a known disease causing bug, called virus. It is among the smallest ‘living things’ known. Although it cannot be seen with a naked eye, sophisticated machines have identified it and all its components. The bug is transmissible mostly through unprotected intercourse with a partner who is infected. It can be prevented with proper use of condoms and other known protective methods.

Blood group Os can’t get HIV!

This is wrong! Any person of any blood type can get infected. It is still not known why some people are negative when they have been having unprotected intercourse with their HIV positive partners. So everyone should use all forms of protection regardless of their status and blood group. Blood group is important for transfusion reasons, that is ‘who can give who’ their blood as it is always done at the hospitals.

HIV positive status is the end of life!

No! Not true. Many HIV positive people live a normal life when they live positively: that is, when they eat a proper balanced meal at all times, they exercise regularly, avoid alcohol and smoking, go for regular counseling sessions, and take their treatment as advised.

‘Immune boosters’ cure HIV.

No! None of the said immune boosters cure HIV. There is no cure for HIV. The treatment available can only control HIV and suppress its growth and multiplication. Any advert of a particular preparation that claims to cure HIV should be considered as misleading. The only medications that have been proven to suppress HIV are the ARVs ÔÇô the anti-retroviral drugs that are now taken in various clinics.

Intercourse with young girls cleanses one’s blood.

No! The thinking is wrong and morally unacceptable. Having intercourse with young girls below 16 years is a criminal offence. You can be jailed for it. The practice also puts young girls at risk of contracting infections at an early age. Young girls should be protected and guided than being considered as “body cleansers”.

Circumcision is a lifelong condom

No! It somehow reduces chances of transmission but does not offer complete protection. Various factors contribute to risk of contracting HIV. A circumcised man can still contract HIV. This means that circumcised men still need to use condom for complete protection. Condom usage also offers protection to a woman, should the very circumcised man be living with the virus.

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