MYTHS AND REALITIES
Myths Surrounding HIV and AIDS
1. When you play sex while standing, you can’t get infected with the HIV virus – they believe that the virus comes down and not up. This is a common misleading belief especially among both the school- going and out of school youth. The truth is even if you played sex while standing up, you would still get the infection because the Virus is transmitted through seminal and vaginal fluids through the mucus membranes( this is the lining of the genitals)
2. When women get their monthly periods, they reduce the amount of HIV in their blood. This is not true because menstruation does not decrease the viral because. Menstrual blood does not contain a significant amount of virus. Therefore HIV positive women are encouraged to continue adhering to their ART treatment as prescribed by a health worker
3. If you drink a big bottle of Coke before testing, the virus won’t be detected. Another similar myth is that when you take panadol before testing you test negative even when you are HIV positive. This is not true. The only way to attain undetectable viral levels is through taking and adhering to ARVs.
4. You can get HIV from swimming pool. This is not true HIV can survive for a very short period of time outside the human body and not in the water from the swimming pool, showers or clothes.
5. Washing genitals after sex prevents one from getting the HIV. The virus will not wait for you to finish sex to enter your body. It enters the body during the process of sexual union.
6. All the people who work in AIDS related organization are HIV positive. This is not true. Workers in those HIV/AIDS related organizations are workers like any other.
7. Taking ARVs shortly before you play sex prevents you from getting HIV. This is not true because the medicine that prevents one from getting the Virus (PREP) works after you have taken it for three consecutive weeks without any live sex.
8. Foreplay – Men believe that if you prepare the woman, you will not get HIV. The truth is the HIV Virus comes from Semen and Virginal Fluids. So even when the two partners are well prepared, they will still get the virus.
9. People who are fat and look healthy do not have HIV. The truth is that the virus is diagnosed with Testing. It is not true that everybody who losses weight is HIV positive. It is possible to be fat and look healthy when you are living with the virus. It is also possible to look thin but without the virus.
10. Does the HIV Virus pass through Kissing, handshake hugs, eating from the same plate, saliva and mosquito bites. No. these are NOT ways of HIV transmission.
11. Having sex with virgins cures HIV/AIDS. This is common among traditional healers. This is a dangerous myth. It is not true at all. There are virgins who are born with the HIV virus
12. A common belief especially among man is that their Partners’ HIV status is the same as theirs. The truth is: there’s a lot of discordance where one partner maybe positive while the other is negative. The only way to know one’s status is by taking an HIV and receiving results from qualified healthcare workers.