By Prince Etim
Over the years, people never understood the concept of HIV/AIDS and how HIV gets transmitted from person to person. This has however spiraled into unnecessary fear, stigma and general misconception about the killer disease.
Here are 10 common myths about HIV debunked:
HIV is communicable/airborne: HIV cannot be gotten by holding hands, kissing, sharing utensils, using the same toilet etc. It can only be transmitted through the exchange of infected blood or body fluids (vaginal fluid & semen) and breast milk.
Mosquitoes spread HIV: People oftentimes believe HIV can be transmitted through mosquito bites because it involves blood. Well spoiler alert, that is very false as the virus cannot survive in insects.
HIV cannot be transmitted through oral sex: There is the general misconception that HIV cannot be gotten through oral sex because there is no penetration, well newsflash, ‘’it can equally be gotten through oral sex as body fluids are exchanged”.
Having HIV means you have AIDS: This is a very popular misconception that once diagnosed with HIV, people automatically feel they have AIDS. This is wrong as HIV can still be managed properly and the infected can live a long healthy life once it is detected early and proper treatment is used.
HIV infection shows symptoms: True to the popular saying, ‘HIV no dey show for face’. An infected person may not show any symptoms for several years until the immune system is weak. That is why early detection is key.
HIV can be gotten from animals: As its acronym states HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the virus can only be transmitted amongst humans and not animals.
HIV can survive in water: HIV cannot be gotten by using the same swimming pools, bathtubs and Jacuzzis as infected people.
Showering after sex prevents HIV: This does not in any way prevent or cure HIV. It is very false.
Infected partners can have unprotected sex: The fact that both partners are infected does not give them the freedom to have unprotected sex as additional strains of the virus if contracted can worsen an infected person health and cause drugs to work adversely.
An infected patient using antiretroviral drugs cannot spread virus: The fact that an infected person uses the antiretroviral drug does not mean he/she can’t still spread the disease. Once the viral count is not undetected in the body, the individual can still infect another.
Early detection of the virus would help better control this virus and how it spreads hence the need for self-testing, especially among young people.
A group of Nigerian scientists are currently seeking ways to promote HIV self-testing among Nigerian youths, using a simple and effective kit. Do you have creative ideas on how best to do this? Join the #HIVSelfTestingContest now by applying here: bit.do/HIVSelfTesting
The best ideas come with cash prizes and support for business startups based on the ideas. Entry closes on 25th of November 2018. For further inquiry, follow us on Instagram: @4youthbyyouth