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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Myths About AIDS

Myths About AIDS

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As the HIV infection is widely spreading in the world and as with other diseases many misconceptions do exist with the disease among the persons in this world. As millions of people get infected worldwide the misconceptions have also evolved and have increased in that manner only.

 

HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a virus which leads to the destruction of the immune system of an individual which leads to the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Some of the misconceptions that exist are -

 

  • Sexual intercourse with a virgin cures AIDS - Sex with a virgin does who is not infected will not cure an HIV-infected person but will spread the disease.
  • Sexual intercourse with an animal cures AIDS - No proof that HIV will be cured by the sexual activity but this practice may lead to many health risks.
  • HIV antibody testing is not reliable - Antibody testing is a established investigation and carries more than 90% sensitivity and specificity. These investigations are extremely useful.
  • AIDS spreads through casual contact with an HIV infected person - HIV infection cannot contract through shaking hand, hugging, sharing the toilet or drinking from the same glass.  It cannot even be spread by coughing or sneezing.
  • HIV does not transmit through oral sex - Both of the persons who either receive or insert orally are at risk of contracting HIV. The risk increases with frequency of oral sex.
  • Only sharing hypodermic needles with patients of HIV will spread infection - Previously contaminated hypodermic needles can spread HIV. Even same preparations can lead to HIV spread.
  • HIV can be transmitted by mosquito bite - mosquitoes never transfer the blood from one patient to other but due to their saliva many other infections can occur.
  • Bathing after intercourse will prevent HIV - HIV and AIDS have no relation with the bathing
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus cannot survive in air - HIV survives at room temperature outside the body for many hours and for weeks if used in syringes.
  • HIV infects homosexual men and drug users only - Unnatural sexual practice carries more risk but HIV can infect anyone.
  • An HIV positive lady will not have children – HIV infected women are fertile but have a higher risk of miscarriage. Risk of transmission of HIV to child is there.
  • HIV will not lead to AIDS as there is a vigorous antibody response to the virus - Even after antibodies a disease can progress which is evident in various diseases.
  • Few CD4+ T cells are infected by HIV - polymerase chain reaction has demonstrated that large proportion of CD4+ T cells are infected than what was thought previously.
  • AIDS originated after human male had sexual intercourse with African monkeys - It is believed that disease appeared due to blood transmission of SIV in hunters.
  • In Africa AIDS is a new name for old diseases - The diseases associated with AIDS in Africa include wasting syndrome, diarrhea and tuberculosis which lead to death of the individuals but in HIV patients these infections are due to decreased immunity.
  • HIV is not the cause of AIDS - There are many documented proofs that HIV leads to AIDS but still some group of scientists are not in favor of this theory.
  • Antiretroviral drugs cause AIDS not HIV - Most of the patients having AIDS have not received any antiretroviral drugs. Antiretroviral therapy increases the mean survival in patients.
  • Drug use and multiple sexual partners lead to AIDS not HIV - these kinds of activities are there for many decades but at that time there was no AIDS.
  • Blood Transfusion (HIV+) never leads to AIDS, it is due to underlying disease  - Many studies have proved that HIV infected blood transfusion will lead to HIV infection.
  • HIV does not leads to AIDS as very few women are sufferers - As the disease started in gay males and also is more prevalent among the IV drug users so women are a bit spared but there is no distinction by the virus.
  • HIV is not the cause of AIDS as many HIV+ have not developed AIDS - After HIV infection it may take 10 years to develop AIDS.