Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a global public health problem that has claimed 35 million lives to date, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Just last year, almost one million people around the world died because of the causes associated with this virus.
About 37 million people took it – 70% lived in Africa – and 1.8 million contracted in 2017.
AIDS is only diagnosed in those who have been infected with HIV.
Since it began to spread in the 80s, all kinds of crazy ideas about how it was transmitted and how it suffered have prejudiced and stigmatized those who had to live with this virus.
On World AIDS Day, BBC World uncovers some of these myths.
1. If I am close to people with HIV, I can get infected
This misunderstanding has caused discrimination against those who have had HIV for a long time and, despite all awareness campaigns, 20% of Britons still believe in 2016 that this virus can be passed through skin or saliva contact from someone who carried it.
However, HIV it is not transmitted through touch, tears, sweat, saliva or urine.
- Breathe in the same air.
- Hugs, kisses, or handshakes.
- Share cutlery.
- Share water sources.
- Share personal items
- Use the same machine or accessory to do exercises in the gym.
- Use the same toilet handle or door.
HIV spreads if that exchange of fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk with virus carriers.
2. There are alternative treatments for HIV
Totally wrong. Alternative medicine such as take a shower after sex o have it with a virgin they do not act against HIV.
The myth of "cleaning with virgins", rooted in sub-Saharan Africa, some from India and Thailand, is very dangerous.
This has encouraged the rape of young girls and even babies, putting them at risk for HIV.
It is believed that this lie appeared in 16th century Europe, when syphilis and gonorrhea spread. He also doesn't work with these diseases.
Prayers and religious rituals can help people face difficult situations, but at the medical level they have no effect on the virus.
3. Mosquitoes can transmit HIV
Even though HIV spreads through the blood, several studies have shown that the virus is not transmitted by bite or insects that suck blood for two reasons:
1) When they bite, they do not inject the blood of the person or animal they bite before.
2) only for HIV Survive in a very short time in this insect.
So, even if there are many mosquitoes in one area and high HIV prevalence, these two factors are not related to each other.
4. I will not get infected through oral sex
It is true that oral sex is less risky than other types of sexual acts. The infection rate is below four cases every 10,000 times.
But it is possible to get the virus by doing oral sex with men or women who carry them, so doctors also recommend using condoms to train them.
5. If I use a condom, I don't understand
Condom can fail to avoid exposure to HIV if they break, slip or leak during sexual intercourse.
That's why a successful campaign against AIDS is a campaign that not only focuses on encouraging people to use condoms but also on tested and immediately receive treatment if they test positive.
According to WHO, one in four people with HIV do not know they have it, that means there are 9.4 million which represent a large risk of transmission.
6. If I don't have symptoms, I don't have a virus
Someone can live 10 or 15 years with HIV without causing any symptoms. You may also experience a type of flu that includes fever, headache, rash, or sore throat in the first few weeks after infection.
Other symptoms may arise because the infection weakens the immune system: swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, diarrhea and coughing.
Without treatment you can also develop serious diseases such as tuberculosis, the Cryptococcal meningitis, severe bacterial infection and cancer like Kaposi's lymphoma or sarcoma, among others.
7. Those who have HIV die young
Those who know they have HIV and continue treatment more healthy life.
The UN Joint Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) said that 47% of those living with HIV have a suppressed viral loadthat is, the amount of virus in your blood is so small that it is not detected in normal analytics.
These people they cannot transmit the virus to other people, even through sexual channels.
However, if left untreated, HIV levels can increase again and can be detected.
According to the WHO, 21.7 million people living with the virus received ART in 2017 – in 2010 there were only eight million – that is, about 78% of HIV-positive patients knew of their diagnosis.
8. Mothers with HIV will always spread it to their children
Not necessarily mothers who have suppressed viral loads can have offspring without transmitting HIV.