Breaking the Stigma: HIV
HIV or Human Immunodeficiency virus is a disease that attacks the body’s immune system. If left untreated, it will continuously destroy the cells in the immune system responsible for fighting off infection and disease. There is a lot of stigma behind HIV. Today, we will be breaking those stigmas by informing you of the truths and misconceptions about HIV.
- Many people associate HIV with STDs. They relate it with negative attributes such as promiscuity and sexual immorality. The truth of the matter is, not all HIV carriers are sexually immoral. Anyone can become infected, even our young and innocent children. There is also this notion that HIV can be transmitted through any form of contact. This has resulted in many HIV carriers being treated like outcasts.
- HIV is not easily transmitted. Despite popular belief, it actually isn’t transmitted through body contact, saliva, tears, sweat, water, nor is it an airborne disease. HIV can be spread transmitted only through contact of bodily fluids with the mucous membrane or through injection in the blood stream. These bodily fluids include blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal and vaginal fluids, and even breast milk.
- Another misconception is that HIV and AIDS are the same thing. They are not. HIV refers to the virus that infects people. AIDS or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, refers to the last stage of HIV infection. Therefore, it is possible for someone to have HIV but not have AIDS. AIDS can prevented through early treatment of HIV.
- There is no cure for HIV yet but there is treatment available to control its effects. Medication can keep HIV levels low and reduce the risk of AIDS. It also lessens the chances of transmitting the disease to others. In order for HIV to be treated earlier, testing is very important. Many people don’t get tested for HIV. This is the reason why it is still prevalent in our society today. Without testing, people are unknowingly infecting others and many are also infected without their knowledge.
Hopefully, we have helped break some stigmas about HIV. These stigmas are often the result of ignorance and misinformation. They have also been the cause of people not getting tested. They become ashamed and afraid of what other’s may think or how they would be treated by society. Help us in breaking the stigma behind HIV. Let others know about the real deal behind HIV and stop the misconceptions. Encourage your friends to get tested together and promote HIV prevention now!