Giving the Facts and Removing the Myths

In my previous blog about AIDS I spoke on the removal of stigma that society has for those with HIV and AIDS. One of the ways I said would be best was to bring awareness to the subject and ensure people are fully knowledgeable of the topic, understanding where they were wrong. For this post I am going to tell you all the facts of HIV and AIDS.

 

Description

  • HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection.
  • AIDS: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

The HIV virus attacks the immune system (the body’s defence against disease) when contracted into the human body. AIDS causes the immune system to weaken so the body can’t fight off diseases. AIDS is a progression of HIV, mainly when HIV goes untreated for some time. Due to effective treatments, most people living with HIV in the UK will not go on to develop AIDS. Anyone can potentially contract HIV, if they are sexually active or sharing needles and injecting equipment.

 

Facts

  • By the end of 2012, an estimated 98,400 people were living with HIV in the UK.
  • In 2012 less than 1% of people with HIV died.
  • About two thirds of people living with HIV are men and a third are women.
  • Three-quarters of people diagnosed with HIV in 2012 were gay or bi-sexual men.
  • There are 35.3 million people living with HIV worldwide.
  • The most common treatment today for someone diagnosed with HIV early is one or two pills a day.
  • With the right medical help, 99% of HIV positive women give birth to healthy babies without passing on HIV.
  • The bodily fluids which can transmit HIV are semen, vaginal fluids, blood, breast milk and rectal secretions.
  • HIV is transmitted by unprotected sex, contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding.
  • Antiretroviral treatment can slow the course of the disease and may lead to a near-normal life expectancy.
  • These treatments can reduce the level of HIV in your body, which means passing it on to a partner can be significantly reduced.

Misconceptions

  • HIV is not transmitted by biting, scratching or spitting. Bodily fluids, such as saliva and tears, do not transmit HIV.
  • Nevertheless, HIV can infect anybody, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
  • Lots of people with HIV work and can carry on with their normal lives.
  • HIV tests offer an accurate result from 4 weeks of potential infection. Results can be confirmed from 2 weeks to 20 minutes!
  • Clinics and doctors are legally bound to not tell anyone about your infection of HIV/AIDS, unless relevant to your treatment.
  • There have only been 5 cases of contracting HIV due to being accidentally pricked by a needle. None since 1995.
  • HIV is a fragile virus that doesn’t survive for long when exposed to the environment outside the body.
  • It is not possible for mosquitoes or other insects to transmit HIV.
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