According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease, Control, and Prevention, about 36.7 million people worldwide live with HIV. While many strides have been made in treating the HIV virus over the years, sadly there is still a lot of confusion on what it means to live with HIV.
We reached out to many experts to get their views about what are the most obvious myths about HIV / AIDS among people in the United States. These experts treat individuals, educate students in medicine, and provide assistance to patients battling the disease. These are the top nine theories and assumptions they and people live with the HIV virus or AIDS syndrome continue to struggle against:
HIV is a death sentence.
Now we expect people with HIV to live a normal life span with proper treatment.
Since 1996, with the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy, a person with HIV with good access to antiretroviral therapy ( ART) can expect to live a normal life span as long as they are taking their prescribed medicines, a board-certified infectious disease physician, and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
You can tell if someone has HIV/AIDS by looking at them
The symptoms when a person contracts the HIV virus are mostly unremarkable. A patient with an HIV infection may show symptoms similar to any other form of infection, such as fever, tiredness, or general malaise. Moreover, initial mild symptoms usually last just a few weeks.
The HIV virus can be successfully controlled with early initiation of antiretroviral medicines. A person with HIV who is receiving antiretroviral therapy is relatively safe and is no different from other people with chronic health conditions.
The common symptoms people often associate with HIV are in fact signs of complications that may occur from diseases or complications related to AIDS. However, those symptoms may not be present in a person living with HIV with sufficient antiretroviral treatment and medications.
Straight people should not worry about HIV infection.
Facts, HIV is more prevalent in men who have male sexual partners, too. Young African-Americans gay and bisexual have the highest rates of HIV transmission.
We know men who have sex with men are the highest-risk category. According to the CDC, this group accounts for around 70 percent of new cases of HIV in the USA.
Heterosexuals, however, accounted for 24 percent of new HIV infections in 2016, and about two-thirds were women.
Although the numbers of African-American gay and bisexual men living with HIV in the United States have remained largely the same, total rates of new HIV cases have dropped by 18 percent since 2008. In general, diagnoses for heterosexual individuals decreased by 36 percent and decreased by 16 percent for all women.
African-Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, face a greater risk of HIV transmission than any other breed. According to the CDC, black men’s HIV diagnosis rates are approximately eight times higher than white men and much higher for black women; black women ‘s rates are 16 times higher than white women, and 5 times higher than Hispanic women. African-American women contract HIV at higher rates than any race or group other than this. As of 2015, 59 percent of women in the United States living with HIV were African-American, 19 percent were Hispanic / Latina, and 17 percent were white.
HIV-positive people can’t safely have children.
The most important thing a woman living with HIV can do while she is planning for pregnancy is to consult with her health care provider to start treatment with ART as soon as possible. Because HIV treatment has advanced so much that if a woman takes her HIV medicine daily as recommended by a health care provider throughout her pregnancy (including labor and delivery) and continues her baby’s medicine for 4 to 6 weeks after birth, the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby may be as low as 1 percent or less.
There are also ways for a mother with HIV to lower the risk of transmission if the HIV viral load is higher than desired, such as choosing a C-section or bottle feeding after birth with formula.
Women who are HIV-negative but are looking to conceive with a male partner carrying the HIV virus may also be able to take special medication to help lower their and their babies’ risk of transmission. For males who have HIV and are taking their ART medication, if the viral load is undetectable, the risk of transmission is virtually zero.
HIV always leads to AIDS.
Infection-causing AIDS is HIV. But that doesn’t mean that all HIV-positive people are developing AIDS. AIDS is an immune system deficiency syndrome that results from HIV affecting the immune system over time and is related to compromised immune response and opportunistic infections. Early therapy for HIV infection avoids AIDS.
Current therapies can control and maintain low levels of HIV infection, maintain a stable immune system for a long time and thus avoid opportunistic infections and a diagnosis of AIDS.
Myth 6: HIV is not a big deal, with all the modern treatments.
While a lot of medical advances have been made in the treatment of HIV, the virus can still lead to complications and the risk of death is still high for certain groups of people.
The risk of infection with HIV and how it affects a person varies according to age, gender, sexuality, lifestyle, and care. The CDC has a Risk Analysis Tool that can help a person quantify their risk and take measures to protect themselves.
I don’t need to use a condom while I am taking PrEP.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a drug that, if taken regularly, can prevent HIV infection in advance.
Kaiser Permanente’s 2015 study tracked people using PrEP for two years and a half and found that, if taken regularly, it was largely effective in preventing HIV infections. Currently, the US Preventive Services Task Force ( USPSTF) is recommending that all individuals at increased risk of HIV take PrEP. buy prep online at safe healths which is an online medical store where you can buy generic medicine at a low price.
However, it does not protect against other pathogens or sexually transmitted diseases.
Training is recommended for use in conjunction with healthy sex activities, as our research has also shown that after 12 months, half of the participating patients were diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection.
Those who test negative for HIV can have unprotected sex.
If a person has been recently diagnosed with HIV, it does not show up until three months later on an HIV test.
Antibody-only tests that are commonly used operate by detecting the presence of antibodies in the body that form as HIV infects the body. Depending on the test, after a few weeks, or up to three months after potential exposure, HIV positive may be identified. Ask the test person about this window time and the timing of repeat testing.
For confirming a negative reading, individuals may take a second HIV test three months after their first. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation recommends getting checked every three months if they are having normal sex. It is crucial for a person to discuss their sexual history with their partner, and to discuss whether they and their partner are good candidates for PrEP with a healthcare provider.
The virus may be identified earlier by other tests, called HIV combination tests.
If both partners have HIV, there’s no reason for a condom.
A person living with HIV who undergoes routine antiretroviral therapy that reduces the virus to undetectable blood levels is NOT capable of transmitting HIV to a partner during sex. The current opinion in medical practice is that “Undetectable = Untransmittable.”
However, the CDC advises that condoms should be used for any sexual encounter, particularly if both partners have HIV. In certain cases, a different strain of HIV can be transferred to a partner, or in some unusual cases, a type of HIV that is known to be a “superinfection” from a strain that is immune to current ART medications.