How much do you really know about HIV?

How much do you really know about HIV?

Any excess is harmful, and this also includes the amount of information. Since the internet is accessible to many more people, it is easy to get lost in the immensity of data on any subject, or to stick only with the first ones we find to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

For this reason, it is worth reviewing how much you really know about HIV. Being a topic that has been on the table for more than four decades, you may have studied a little about it, but you could also have come across myths that only cause misinformation and confusion.

Then it’s time to play true or false!

1. People with HIV look sick.

False: A person living with HIV, whether diagnosed or not, can look like anyone else. For a long time, that person may not even feel sick.

2. There are only 3 routes of HIV transmission: sexual relationship, blood and vertical (from mother to baby).

True: If someone with HIV lives with other people on a daily basis, they are not exposed to get the virus. Fluids such as sweat, tears, or urine do not pose a risk. Nor are mosquito bites or the shared use of bathrooms or swimming pools.

3. There is no problem if two people with HIV have sex without a condom.

False: HIV, like other viruses, has different strains, so two people might not have the same type of virus, and their contact could lead to something called reinfection. Also, if one person has already developed resistance to one of the antiretroviral drugs, they could transmit that resistant virus to the other, thus limiting their treatment options. Also, there are many other sexually transmitted infections besides HIV!

4. People with HIV can have babies without virus.

True: Thanks to antiretroviral treatment, a woman or a man with HIV can procreate a baby without virus in the vast majority of cases. In fact, a recent study conducted in France found that, over a 17-year period, no cases of mother-to-baby transmission of HIV were recorded.

5. If a person has a minimal level of HIV, they cannot pass it on to others.

True: If someone is taking antiretroviral treatment successfully, then they will have an undetectable level of virus in their blood, which reduces the possibility of transmitting it to another person through sexual contact to 0%. This has been summed up in a slogan: undetectable = non transmittable.

6. HIV does not exist, therefore it doesn’t cause AIDS.

False: For years there have been pseudoscientific groups that have tried to make people believe that AIDS is not caused by a virus, but rather by “intoxication”, by a government conspiracy or by antiretroviral drugs, but none of this has any serious basis. The cause-effect relationship between HIV and AIDS has been demonstrated over 40 years of scientific research.

How did you do? Did you find out something you didn’t know? We hope this update clears your doubts or dispels some myths that are still circulating around.

If you want more information, take a free HIV test or receive free condoms, at AHF Latin America and the Caribbean we can help you. Locate our offices in your country or write to us on Whatsapp.