Friday, 15 June 2012


It seems a bit shocking that there are still a lot of people who are woefully uninformed about AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and still spout ridiculous nonsense that ironically puts more people at risk, instead of protecting them. With the rising number of people with HIV in the Philippines, we can never be too careful.

To this day, there is still no known cure for HIV or AIDS, yet if Magic Johnson is any indication, you can live a relatively normal life thanks to today’s medical advancements. Still, when the career of one of the greatest NBA players of all time was cut short because other players were afraid he’d bleed all over them and transmit HIV, you know that there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to awareness about the nature of HIV and AIDS.

Up to now, people still mistakenly believe that…

8) While it is possible to catch HIV through extremely torrid kissing you need to meet so many conditions first that it is considered low-risk at worst. Regardless of the presence of mouth sores, saliva is a very poor carrier for HIV, so unless you’re both bleeding from the mouth when you start making out, you need not worry about it.

As for toilets or mosquito bites, well, both are simply impossible. The truth is, there are very specific means for HIV to be transmitted, and all these three aren’t among them.

7) While there is still no known cure for HIV or AIDS, medical advances have made it possible for people to live a mostly normal life with the disease becoming almost merely an afterthought. Long before these antiretroviral drugs came along, though, it already took nine to 11 years before one would succumb to the disease, so it wasn’t exactly instantaneous, either.
Remember: Magic Johnson was diagnosed with HIV in 1991. It has been 22 years and he is still very much alive and kicking.

6) One of the easiest ways to transmit HIV is through unprotected sex. Statistically, due to the lack of risk of pregnancy, gay people are more likely to engage in intercourse sans condoms. This does not mean, though, that heterosexual people are risk-free: anyone can get AIDS from anyone through unprotected sex.

5) Again, HIV is normally acquired through transmission of bodily fluids. Oral sex normally involves that, although the risk is notably lower than intercourse. (Ironically, letting the fluids stay in your mouth while you make up your mind if you will spit or swallow is riskier for acquiring HIV than actually doing either immediately. Spit or swallow: don’t let it wallow.)

4) As counterintuitive as it may sound, two HIV-positive people can still infect each other further with more drug-resistant strains of the virus: a superinfection, if you will. Remember all those expensive antiretroviral meds you need to take to prevent your HIV from becoming AIDS? You might find them completely useless by the time you get superinfected.

3) While yes, this is likely, this is not a statistical certainty. There is always a chance that the mother will not pass HIV to their child, especially if they take medication and do not breastfeed upon childbirth.

2) Sorry, nope. If you are HIV-positive, you, more than anyone else, should be practicing safe sex.

1) This myth that was promulgated in Africa, the continent with the most number of people infected by the virus, partly due to the Catholic Church’s stand on condoms. This kind of misinformation is precisely why AIDS continues to be a problem worldwide.


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