Today is World AIDS day – and time again for all of us to remind ourselves that we no longer avoid contact with members of the primate community by over- fussing about HIV. Still many of us tend to hold onto common misconceptions about the virus and disease. So it’s time that we clear up some of these misconceptions that are more illogical than the rant of your drunk friend on capitalism.
AIDS is spread by homosexuality
While both science and culture has always emphasized on the diversity of sexual tendencies and sexual orientations, the general patriarchal slant of society has created an overall bias for one type of monogamous heterosexuality, automatically resulting in apparently ‘deviant’ types of sexuality and sexual tendencies getting the stick for each new STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) being discovered and this includes AIDS as well. But we know now that AIDS or HIV has nothing to do with a person’s sexual orientation. So, despite the relentless hatred being spewed by certain sections of the society, AIDS is no longer a dandy for vile homophobia- a thing that we should all celebrate and remember this World AIDS day.
AIDS is caused by SEX
AIDS, when it was discovered first, in 1981 was used as a handy tool to disseminate the agenda for political and social control over human bodies and behavior. Different groups took it amongst themselves to use STDs as a weapon in their overarching desire to retain control over individual body and reproductive rights, especially for women. But all that has changed now- more than 20 years of exhaustive research has proved that it is not sexuality or sexual behavior but sex without protection that causes STDs including AIDS. So we know now that AIDS has nothing to do with sex-something we should all remember this World AIDS Day.
AIDS kills !
Though a person afflicted by the Human -immunodeficiency virus or HIV can’t be cured permanently, the condition no longer means an automatic slow death sentence for patients suffering from it. The advent of HAART or Human active antiretroviral therapy, which is really nothing but a combination of different pills given to tackle the viral ramifications; has meant that today one can effectively manage the potency of HIV, rendering it relatively harmless overtime, something worth cherishing this world AIDS day.
AIDS- is always transferred to your children
When the first cases of AIDS were discovered, scientists found out the distasteful and frightening possibility that mothers suffering from it might transmit the condition to their unborn kids in the womb. But things have totally changed now – for the better. Today AIDS can be detected during pregnancy and then cured totally through amazing drugs being created due to stunning advances in protein and gene chemistry. So feel free to have babies even if you HIV+ a fact worth celebrating this World AIDS day.
There’s nothing you can do to stop AIDS
Science is truly a wonderland of amazing miracles. Take for example ‘Pre-exposure prophylaxis’. This revolutionary new therapy promises 95 to 99% immunity from AIDS for HIV-negative individuals through a cool new medication called Truvada. You just have to pop a pill every day and relax for the rest of your life. So now we have a drug that protects us from AIDS at all times- something worth a broad and happy grin this World AIDS Day.
I shouldn’t interact or even touch an HIV+person
Human beings, unfortunately, have the habit of judging others- often on factors that bode no logic or rationale. This leads to biases and xenophobia. Thus when AIDS was first discovered and declared contagious- certain people closed their hearts and made it a point to discriminate against those suffering from it – as “punishment for sins”. Thankfully the power of wisdom and love has overpowered such ill-conceived convictions and created an environment of equality and love for individuals afflicted with the disease. Today we know that AIDS does not spread through normal human interactions and behaviors except for Unsafe sex and use of unsterilized needles during drug abuse or blood transfusions. Individuals suffering from AIDS need our hugs and love-not disdain or jeers -a realization that is worth celebrating this World AIDS Day.
There’s no complete cure for HIV
There was a time that HIV acted as a ‘rogue’ criminal- impervious to the effects of any medicine or treatment. But things have changed AIDS can be totally eliminated now with the use of common chemotherapy medication which works by coaxing the ‘rogue’ HIV out of its comfy ‘bio-camouflage’. This deserves a hearty toast to all the scientists working in the realm of HIV and AIDS research this World Aids Day.
It’s going to affect future generations
No, it isn’t !! Rapid advances in our understanding of HIV works accompanied with significant discoveries in the field of medicines and strong advocacy for prevention through best -practices like safe sex, avoidance of hard drugs and usage of sterilized needles means that today HIV as a disease can be practically eliminated from the general populace if the right methodology is followed. Thus we can reasonably expect a day when AIDS will become a negative memory of the past to be discussed over a coffee table- something to be celebrated with unbridled glee this World AIDS Day.
HIV can never be functionally cured
No, it can be – thanks to the wonderful power of stem cells. Thus when Timothy Ray Brown, an HIV+ individual was diagnosed with leukemia in 2006, he could never have expected that he could cure himself of AIDS too. Timothy underwent 2 bone marrow transplants with stem cells from donors who had a high natural immunity against viruses like HIV. Timothy got this immunity inadvertently and has been able to lead a healthy life since then without using any form of antiretroviral therapy or ART. So HIV can be completely cured now – a fact worth applauding this world AIDS day.
Thus we should start treating AIDS as a preventable disease that can be easily managed and even cured. Discriminating people who suffer from AIDS and creating myths and agendas around it is a crime that is absolutely unpardonable. So free yourself from your ill-informed misconceptions and prejudices and start treating everyone with respect this World AIDS day.
You can also support amazing initiatives working to cure AIDS as well as empower individuals suffering from it through such crowdfunding websites like impactguru.