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World AIDS Day 2023: Debunking 10 Common Myths about HIV and AIDS, Key Facts You Need to Know

World AIDS Day 2023: Debunking 10 Common Myths about HIV and AIDS, Key Facts You Need to Know

Written by Sanjay Kumar

December 1 marks World AIDS Day, an annual global initiative aimed at raising awareness about HIV/AIDS. On this occasion, it is crucial to dispel prevalent misconceptions surrounding the virus and its transmission. Consultant Physician at Yashoda Hospitals in Hyderabad, Dr Dilip Gude, has played a pivotal role in debunking some of these myths.

01. Myth: HIV is transmitted through casual touch, cough, and handshakes.

Fact: Routine touch or cough does not transmit HIV; transmission occurs only if there are open wounds or ulcers on the skin.

02. Myth: Individuals diagnosed with HIV have a short life expectancy.

Fact: With long-term viral suppression medications, people diagnosed with HIV can lead fulfilling lives for several years.

03. Myth: Children born to HIV-positive mothers will inevitably be HIV-positive.

Fact: Antiretroviral treatment, C-section, and other precautionary measures can reduce the risk of transmission to less than 2%.

04. Myth: Antibacterial or antifungal medicines are ineffective against HIV.

Fact: People with HIV may need such medicines as their compromised immunity makes them susceptible to common bacterial and fungal infections.

05. Myth: No risk exists if two or more HIV-positive individuals engage in unprotected sex.

Fact: Unprotected sex can lead to the transmission of dangerous strains of HIV.

06. Myth: Asymptomatic individuals with HIV do not have the virus.

Fact: HIV may take years to manifest symptoms, and testing is the only way to confirm its presence.

07. Myth: Medicines taken before intercourse completely prevent HIV transmission.

Fact: Pre-exposure prophylaxis minimizes the risk but does not eliminate it entirely.

08. Myth: Sharing food, drink, and utensils with an HIV-infected person increases the risk of transmission.

Fact: HIV cannot be transmitted through these activities, even if the person preparing food is living with HIV.

09. Myth: High-risk individuals need not worry about preventive measures after an initial negative HIV diagnosis.

Fact: Regular testing, including GP24 assays and repeat antibody tests, is crucial for high-risk groups due to the delayed development of antibodies.

10. Myth: HIV can be transmitted through infected insects and pets.

Fact: This myth is untrue; HIV transmission occurs exclusively through bodily fluids and not through insects or pets.

On World AIDS Day 2023, let’s combat misinformation and promote accurate knowledge about HIV/AIDS to foster a more informed and supportive global community.

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