Myths and Misconceptions about HIV & Aid

Myths are twisted “truths” or a story or belief used to explain a certain happening. Myths are passed on from one generation to another. A misconception is a piece of information, which may contain just a little truth to support it. A fact on the other hand is a statement on certain information, which is true, and can be manifested or inferred with certainty.

Examples of myths associated with transmission of HIV&AIDS

  • Shaking of hands
  • Sharing beddings, utensils or toilet seat
  • Being bitten by mosquitoes
  • Sleeping next to HIV infected person
  • Hugging or playing with a person infected with HIV
  • Coming into contact with sweat from an infected person
  • Visiting/consoling a person infected with HIV&AIDS
  • Donating blood
  • Bewitching

Examples of Misconceptions about HIV&AIDS

  • Only promiscuous people get HIV&AIDS
  • All infected people are thin and sick
  • If a girl washes her vagina with soap after sexual intercourse she cannot get HIV&AIDS
  • You cannot get HIV&AIDS if you are a virgin
  • It is okay to have sexual intercourse with a girl below 15years of age because she is free from HIV&AIDS
  • Aids is a curse, a punishment from God or is a result of having broken taboo
  • Having sexual intercourse with a virgin cures AIDS
  • HIV & AIDS is caused by witchcraft Signs and symptoms of AIDS

Initially the person leads a fairly healthy life where no symptoms are present. Early HIV symptoms occur between 1-4 weeks after infection and may include:

  • Swelling of lymph notes
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Los of appetite
  • Sweating
  • Sore throat
  • Weight loss

At the last stages the immune system that has been fighting HIV weakens and this gives way to development of AIDS. They develop opportunistic diseases. These are normal infections that immune system can fight off on its own, but can be life threatening if the immune system is compromised.

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