HIV Infection Doesn’t Always Lead To AIDS, Facts You Should Know – People detected with HIV-AIDS are still looked down upon by society. Let’s dispel the myths surrounding HIV-AIDS.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to be a major global public health issue, affecting millions of people worldwide. According to WHO, more than 38.4 million people were living with HIV in 2021. Last year, WHO recorded 1.5 million new HIV cases and 650,000 deaths due to HIV-related causes. India has a large number of people living with HIV-AIDS. However, there is still not much awareness regarding these conditions as people do not come out in open and speak about them. There is a social stigma linked to these conditions and those detected with HIV-AIDS are looked down upon by society. On the occasion of World AIDS Day 2022, an expert helps you to separate facts from myths when it comes to HIV-AIDS.

Speaking to the HealthSite on the occasion of World AIDS Day, Dr Amit Shohhavat, Internal Medicine Expert, Apollo Spectra Mumbai, sheds light on HIV-AIDS as well as clears the common misconceptions regarding it.

Understand AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome)

He says: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a life-threatening condition that happens due to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV tends to take a toll on the immune system by interfering with the body’s ability to fight infection and disease.

One with HIV and AIDS will exhibit symptoms such as fever, chills, rash, night sweats, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, mouth ulcers, diarrhoea, and pneumonia. HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that tends to spread by contact with infected blood or sharing needles. It may also spread from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. It is a known fact that there is no permanent cure for these conditions, but one can halt the progression of the disease by adhering to a healthy lifestyle.

Dispelling the myths surrounding HIV-AIDS

Below, Dr Shohhavat has busted three common myths associated with HIV-AIDS.

Myth: HIV spreads through holding hands, touching, or kissing

Fact: This statement is entirely false. HIV never spreads via physical touch which means holding hands, hugging/cuddling, or even kissing. It only spreads when one comes in contact with fluids like the saliva of an infected person. Furthermore, it can also spread during pregnancy via breast milk, semen, and blood.

Myth: HIV means death

Fact: Do not panic or believe in any rumors. HIV is a viral infection and though it is not curable, it can still be managed when detected at an early stage. It is better to consult an expert who will guide you after monitoring your health. It is possible for people with HIV to lead a healthy life with the help of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Myth: HIV will always lead to AIDS

Fact: AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection. But people known to have HIV won’t necessarily get AIDS when they follow the right kind of treatment suggested by the doctor.

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