Hello readers. Today, December 1st, marks more than just the rush to buy Christmas presents. It also marks World AIDS day. To commemorate the day, I decided to post some myths (and facts) about AIDS and what you can do to protect yourself from the deadly virus.
MYTH: I can get HIV by being around someone who is HIV positive.
REALITY: HIV is not spread through touch, saliva, tears, or sweat. You cannot contract it by breathing in the same air, touching the same doorknob or toilet seat, hugging, kissing or using the same exercise equipment. You CAN contract AIDS or HIV from infected blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or mother’s milk.
MYTH: Only homosexuals and drug addicts contract AIDS.
REALITY: ANYONE can contract AIDS at any time. As a matter of fact, 16% of men and 78% of women who contract AIDS are heterosexual. African-Americans (42,6%), Whites (33.3%), and Latinos (21.4%) have the highest prevalence of contracting the disease.
MYTH: You can’t get HIV from having oral sex.
REALITY: Although oral sex is less risky than other sexual acts, you can still contract HIV from having oral sex with someone who is HIV positive.
MYTH: You can get HIV from mosquitoes.
REALITY: Because HIV spreads through blood, many people think that insects such as mosquitoes can spread the disease. Several studies have shown that there is no evidence to support this. When mosquitoes or other insects bite, they don’t inject the blood of the person or animal they last bit. In addition to this, the virus has a short lifespan inside insects.
MYTH: HIV is a death sentence.
REALITY: Not necessarily. Thanks to new treatments and antiretroviral drugs, many people with AIDS are living longer and fuller lives. HOWEVER, they ARE NOT a cure! Many of the drugs are expensive and produce a variety of serious side effects. In addition, certain strains of the disease are drug resistant.
MYTH: You would know if someone had AIDS.
REALITY: Many people with HIV don’t show symptoms until several months or even years later. The only way to definitely tell if someone has AIDS or HIV is to take a test.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Although it is important to be able to separate fact from fiction when it comes to HIV and AIDS, it is equally important to protect yourself (and others) from contracting the disease. Here are a few simple ways to do that.
- ALWAYS practice safe sex. Safe sex is great sex! Although many people feel that condoms make sex less pleasurable, they can protect you from many sexually transmitted diseases and prevent unwanted pregnancy. Think of this way. What’s more important? 30 seconds of pleasure or years filled with disease and devastation?
- Limit your sexual partners. Having sex with multiple people at the same increases your risk of contracting the disease.
- Don’t use the same needle twice! Dispose of all needles after ONE use and do not share them!
- Get tested! The best way to make sure that you don’t have HIV is to get tested.
For more info visit http://www.avert.org/