AIDS: Misconceptions and All You Need to Know

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aids

AIDS is a disease caused by HIV virus. In this disease there is loss of immunity which leads to lower resistance of body against different infections and diseases. As there is gradual decrease in immunity there are more chances that even the minor bacteria and viruses which our body can combat easily, can cause severe disease.

People usually define AIDS as only sexually transmitted disease which is not true. Yeah you can acquire HIV virus from an infected person by sexual intercourse but there are some other ways of getting this disease too. Here in Pakistan, due to lack of knowledge and awareness this disease is treated as a taboo. If God forbid you have AIDS people  will automatically conclude that you must have really worse character. People treat patients of AIDS as outcast.

AIDS is caused by:

AIDS is usually transmitted through body fluids like blood, semen or breast milk. Means you can acquire HIV virus by:

  • Sexual intercourse with HIV infected person.
  • Unsterilized needles: means if you use the needle which was previously used by HIV positive patient and still has drops of blood containing HIV virus.
  • Through blood transfusion: means if you give blood to another person without screening it first.
  • From mother to child during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Try and not share the patient’s tweezers, toothbrush and razor.

The cure for AIDS still hasn’t been discovered although new medicines are being developed to help the patients. A person with HIV with good access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) can expect to live a normal life span, so long as they take their prescribed medications.

Major Misconceptions:

If you see a person suffering from AIDS don’t just automatically conclude that he/she must be the one sleeping around with people. There are many other possibilities by which one may acquire this virus.

I still remember when I was in high school (in pre-medical) one of my teacher while doing announcement on some topic, I couldn’t remember said, ‘AIDS means ALLAH INTENDS TO DESTROY SINNERS’ and i was literally shook by his statement. If a person has AIDS how can we just assume that he/she must be the sinner hence the suffering. What if the person is innocent but just unfortunate and probably was in the wrong place at the wrong time? We should just stop labeling  and judging people and leave some work for Allah. And most importantly, instead of believing just anything we should use our android smartphones for research purposes also.

Okay now let me clear few of the most ridiculous things people believe about the patients of HIV.

No you surely WON’T get AIDS just by touching a patient, eating or drinking with them or through coughing and sneezing. HIV virus can only be transmitted if you have open wound and it comes in contact with patient’s blood.

Even sweat, toilet seats and insects are not the carrier of this virus.

What Patients Can Do to Live a Healthy Life:

  • Take well balanced diet containing all the healthy foods like vegetables, fruits etc.
  • Try and take meals that are properly prepared to avoid food borne diseases. Properly wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Take medicines on time.
  • Consult a doctor for even minor diseases like flu etc.

Can HIV Positive People Safely Have Children?

Yes but mother would have to take extra precautions. By consulting a doctor mother should start ART treatment as soon as possible. She should take medicine through entire period of pregnancy, labor and continue taking it 4 to 6 weeks after pregnancy. In this way the chances of infant getting AIDS can be lowered upto 1%.

The risk can also be reduced by choosing C-section and bottle feeding.

How Can We Make Life Easier For a HIV Positive Person?
  • Learn about AIDS and try and not to believe all the myths related to it.
  • Try and treat the patients like normal human beings. Don’t judge them.
  • Don’t hesitate in their presence. You definitely won’t catch AIDS by looking at the patients. They are already suffering enough don’t make their lives even more uncomfortable.
  • If you are taking care of patient urge them to live a healthy lifestyle life by eating healthy. Make sure they are seeing a doctor when needed and taking their prescribed medicines on time.
  • It’s very easy for patients to go in depression as the disease itself is very hard to manage. In such case get them proper help and try and keep them as happy as you can.

One last and most important thing. Even if you know that the patient acquired this virus cause of his/her bad choices in life, do them a favor and keep your judgy looks and nasty remarks to yourself. You never know what’s in the heart of other person. They can have a change of heart anytime and could try and become more pious and near Allah. So help them become a better person.