HIV & AIDS

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Myth:

If I am HIV positive, my life is over

Fact:

This is not true. Your life is not over. With proper adherence to Anti-retroviral therapy (ART), one is able to live a normal and productive life. ARVs are available for free in all government clinics and hospitals.

Myth:

You can get HIV by sharing clothes, food, hugging, handshakes, kissing, sharing toilets e.t.c.

Fact:

This is not true. HIV can only be transmitted through an exchange of body fluids. It cannot be spread through physical contact unless you have an open wound which comes into contact with the body fluids (semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, or blood) of a HIV positive person. Body fluids such as saliva sweat and tears cannot transmit HIV. Likewise, the virus cannot survive in insects and thus cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites.

Myth:

You can’t get HIV during the first sexual intercourse

Fact:

This is not true. You can get HIV during the first sexual intercourse if you engage in unprotected sex with an infected person.

Myth:

Having sex with a virgin can cure you from HIV

Fact:

It is not true. Sex with a virgin does not cure HIV. Sexual intercourse whether with a virgin or not is one of the primary ways through which HIV infection or re-infection occurs. Such an act will only pass the virus to the virgin who may/may not be HIV negative.

Myth:

HIV is a disease for those who are gay

Fact:

Anyone can contract HIV. Whereas men who have sex with men are the most at risk population, HIV transmission through heterosexual sexual intercourse is the most common. Up to 80% of HIV transmission occurs through heterosexual sex. HIV is however much more easily contracted through anal sex as the anus is prone to tears and bleeding which raises the risk of infection.

Myth:

Having multiple sexual partners will heal you from the HIV virus

Fact:

This is not true. Having multiple sexual partners does not heal HIV but rather increases your risk of getting re-infected with another strain of the virus.

Myth:

You get HIV through witchcraft , curses or as a punishment from God

Fact:

It is not true. No one gets HIV from being bewitched, cursed or as a sign of punishment from God.

Myth:

If my partner and I are HIV positive, we cannot get children

Fact:

It is not true. People who are HIV positive can have healthy children. If mothers and their babies use the correct medication, it’s possible for HIV (+) positive women to have babies who are HIV (-) negative. This treatment is called Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) and it is available for free in government clinics and hospitals.

Myth:

Condoms spread HIV because they have small holes where the HIV virus can pass

Fact:

This is not true. Condoms do not allow the HIV virus to pass
through unless they are damaged or torn. When used properly and consistently, condoms are effective in reducing the risk of HIV and STI infection, as well as unintended pregnancy. They offer dual protection.

Myth:

A healthy looking persons cannot be HIV positive

Fact:

It is not true. You cannot tell whether a person is HIV positive or negative by merely looking at them or by appearance. A person can be HIV positive but still look healthy. Testing is the only sure way to know your HIV status.

Discuss this further on our HIV & AIDS forum page

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