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HIV and AIDS Misconceptions: How do I protect myself?

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Did you know that  Cebu has the highest number of reported HIV cases in Central Visayas (Region 7) between January and May 2019?

In 2019, HIV/AIDS & ART Registry of the Philippines confirmed 1,249 new cases of HIV-positive patients.

Through the years, the Department of Health (DOH) and the World Health Organization (WHO), has intensified its awareness of AIDS and how to protect families against it. However, some still believe the misconceptions surrounding the disease.

As we celebrate World AIDS Day this December 1, UCMed shares some HIV and AIDS misconceptions of the disease to promote proper education on positive, healthy and informed choices.

Misconception 1: I can get HIV by being around people who are HIV positive.

Multiple medical research proves that a person cannot contract HIV through touch, tears, sweat or saliva. Additionally, you do not catch HIV by breathing the same air as the HIV positive person, sharing utensils with an HIV positive person. HIV can only be transmitted  through certain body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluid or breast milk.

Misconception 2: There is no treatment for HIV

Modern medicine has not yet successfully cured HIV. Fortunately for HIV-positive patients, and Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is readily available. ART utilizes HIV medicines to treat HIV infection and healthier lives. Aside from that, a patient who uses ART also minimizes their risk of HIV transmission to other people.

Myth 3: An HIV-positive person shows signs.

Symptoms of HIV include rapid weight loss, recurring fever, and unexplained tiredness. However, a person can be HIV-positive and not show clear symptoms. The only way you can tell if a person is HIV positive is to undergo HIV testing.

Myth 4: HIV is a homosexual disease

One of the most common HIV and AIDS misconceptions is that HIV is a disease that a person can contract only through homosexual encounters.

Although HIV transmission among two male partners is most common and is the most at-risk population, HIV is not exclusive among homosexual partners. Women actually have a higher chance of contracting HIV from a sexual encounter than heterosexual men.

Myth 5: I don’t need to worry about HIV as ART is available

While ART does improve the lives of HIV-positive patients by helping them live longer, these drugs can have serious side effects on patients.  As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. It is definitely also cheaper and easier on the patient and their family than managing a life-long disease.

Prevention starts with screening. Here at UCMed, we offer HIV testing available 24 hours a week. Call our Laboratory Department at 888.2106 or 517.0888 local 2400 or 2401 or vsit us at Ouano Avenue, Subangdaku, Mandaue City. Cebu.