Misconceptions about AIDS

In the beginning...

1 Corinthians 6:18 says, "Flee from sexual immorality.  All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."

It was the early eighties, that AIDS (Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome) first came into the news.  It effectively ended the sexual revolution of the seventies.  At first, people thought it was a gay disease that only affected homosexuals.  Many Christians quoted the bible passage above, and said that as homosexuality was un-Christian, God was punishing homosexuals.  Many jokes did the rounds.  GAY stood for, Got AIDS Yet?  And, AIDS, stood for Arsehole Injected Death Sentence.  However, as more people started contracting AIDS from blood transfusions, suddenly heterosexual people were aware that they weren't immune.  They were also at risk.  But still, people did silly things, took risks and no precautions and AIDS spread even more.  Having AIDS became a stigma.  Especially because of some of the misconceptions people had, and still have about AIDS.

There were rumours initially, that AIDS spread to humans from African men having sex with chimpanzees infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus which affects chimpanzees and monkeys in Africa.  Seriously, why do people always assume the worst of Africans?  Some African people do hunt monkeys and chimpanzees, either for eating or to sell to zoos.  If they had a cut or an open wound, and the ape had a cut or open wound and the blood got mixed, it could have moved across that way and mutated, but I seriously don't believe anybody had sex with a monkey.  In fact, I believe that AIDS has been around for centuries.  In the seventeen hundreds and eighteen hundreds when people died of consumption or wasting disease, when people died of Tuberculosis, that could so easily have been AIDS as it was so similar.  Many AIDS patients end up dying of Tuberculosis.  I really think it has always been there, we had just never identified it correctly.  So, forget the African men fornicating with monkeys.  And that poor Canadian flight attendant that got blamed for taking AIDS to North America and spreading it to hundreds through his very active sex life where he banged and shagged anything that moved.  Maybe he was the one who had sex with a monkey.

Sleeping with the enemy

AIDS is definitely more rampant in Africa than elsewhere, but it is not restricted to Africa as some people like to believe. AIDS is in every country on this planet. AIDS can be spread through blood transfusions and sharing not only drug needles, but also the cotton wool and other paraphernalia one uses when injecting oneself with drugs. Many people have the misconception that you can only get it from sharing dirty needles, but that is not the case. Anything where body fluids can inadvertently mix.

Kissing is an exchange of body fluids as the saliva mixes and swirls in the mouthes, but unless both people have mouth ulcers, gum disease or sores or cuts in the mouth, saliva alone won't help spread AIDS.  Breathing the same air as someone with AIDS, peeing in the same toilet as them, sleeping in the same bed as them or using the same gym equipment and letting your sweat mix with their sweat will not make you get AIDS.  You can get it from infected blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or mother's milk.  If you are not sure about the AIDS status of a friend you are having sex with, use a condom.  It's better to be safe than sorry.

Oh, and sleeping without a mosquito net in a malaria-infested area in a country in Africa where AIDS is prolific - don't despair.  A mosquito who has just had a vampirical feast on an AIDS patient and then feasts on you can not give you AIDS.  They do not give you the previous victim's blood, they greedily keep it all for themselves.  So, you can book your flight to visit that exotic African country you always dreamed of visiting!

Brilliant movie which shows common AIDS Misconceptions

There is no truth in eating certain fruit and vegetables to cure AIDS

Busting the misconceptions

No need to have protected sex as there are medicines which can cure AIDS now

While there are medicines which can improve the lives of HIV positive patients, none actually cure AIDS, all are expensive and most have nasty side-effects.  So, don't be miserly and cheap.  Fork out the cash for those packets of condoms.

AIDS is a conspiracy by white people to stop black people from breeding

This was a common misconception when AIDS first became headline news.  Even many African Americans thought that AIDS was a government conspiracy.  Unfortunately, this misconception caused many people to dismiss the AIDS pandemic as propaganda, and as part of their stand against the propaganda, they deliberately failed to use condoms.  Please believe that this is a misconception and AIDS does exist and is not just propaganda.

If I have AIDS it's goodbye world

At first most people who became HIV positive developed AIDS and the writing was on the wall that it was inevitable that they'd be soon meeting their maker.  Nowadays, it's not the death sentence it once was.  Today, antiretroviral drugs allow HIV-positive people -- and even those with AIDS -- to live much longer.

Oral sex is a great way to prevent AIDS

Oral sex might be great, but it should not be used as a safe sex measure to prevent AIDS.  Performing fellatio and cunnilingus on a partner infected with the AIDS virus is not safe and you can still catch AIDS from them.

I am HIV Positive so I have AIDS

Actually, some people can be HIV Positive their entire lives and never develop AIDS.  A point to remember is that while HIV does not cause AIDS, it is one of the underlying causes of AIDS.  Seriously, just use a condom and don't worry about whether or not your partner's HIV status will cause you AIDS.  Rather just play it safe.

Sex with a virgin will cure AIDS

This misconception caused an outbreak of child rapes in South Africa until this myth was laid to rest.  The movie, Beat the Drum, illustrates this misconception perfectly.  I can highly recommend that movie for any educators teaching Life Skills classes about the AIDS pandemic.  It is aimed at a middle school level as well as adult.  Truly, an excellent, excellent movie.  Having sex with a virgin just spreads AIDS to an innocent victim and causes some poor child unnecessary trauma.

Sex with an animal will cure AIDS

When working in Botswana, I can vividly remember the day the local vet was late for the bowling tournament.  "Sorry, had to take a human semen sample from a goat so it can be used in a bestiality case."  Needless to say, we couldn't stop giggling the rest of the tournament and got so distracted, we came last.  But jokes aside, some people do believe this, so lock up your dogs!

Showering after sex prevents AIDS

Unless you stick that shower nozzle in dark nasty places, I can't see how washing away what is outside and leaving what is inside can prevent AIDS, as it's the what's inside that will infect you.

Killing animals as a sacrifice or lighting special candles will cure AIDS

Killing an animal like a cow will just provide you with meat and lighting a candle will just provide you with light.  Neither will cure AIDS and that's a fact.

Eating certain vegetables will cure AIDS

There are more people infected with AIDS in South Africa than the whole population of New Zealand.  Yet, a few years ago South Africa's then health minister turned the country into a laughing stock when she announced at a world AIDS conference that AIDS can be cured by vegetables.  The biggest way AIDS is spread in South Africa is from mother to child.  But Manto Tshabala-Msimang said publically on the 30 June 2005,   "Nutrition is the basis of good health and it can stop the progression from HIV to full-blown Aids, and eating garlic, olive oil, beetroot and the African potato boosts the immune system to ensure the body is able to defend itself against the virus and live with it. I am sure that loveLife will continue to raise that."  This is crap, while it is healthy for you it has not been proved to cure AIDS.

Owning an albino's body part will cure AIDS

While some believe that owning an albino's body part will bring you great riches, others believe it might cure AIDS.  This has caused a big problem in Tanzania, where albinos fear for their lives.  Albinos do not have magical powers and will not cure AIDS or make you rich.

There is no cure for AIDS and that is not a misconception.  The only way to avoid AIDS is to try and prevent it.  It's definitely a case of prevention is better than cure.  Never have unprotected sex with a stranger.  Always use a condom.  Get your boyfriend or girlfriend tested at the start of your relationship, before you start to get intimate.  Make the testing a fun date with an intimate dinner afterwards.

NGOs like the Hermanus Rainbow Trust organise home care for AIDS sufferers in South Africa.
NGOs like the Hermanus Rainbow Trust organise home care for AIDS sufferers in South Africa.

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Comments 32 comments

alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 7 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Wow! Really good information, Cindy. I know Africa has suffered terribly with this problem. BTW, the movie your suggested is great. You can get it through Netflix. Thanks for a great hub.

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Cape Town Author

Thanks Alekhouse! That movie is actually a great one for parents to show their kids.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

A well written, down-to-earth hub. Thank you for a lot of interesting informations.

Connie 7 years ago

Education to the facts about HIV/AIDS is the best way to stop it's spread. So many people have no idea what the facts are. The medical field has grown and the info is out there for all who want to learn. Good Hub Cindy.

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Cape Town Author

Hello Hello, thanks for stopping by.

Connie, I agree, stopping AIDS is all about how people are educated about it.

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

I was fascinated by the superstitions accompanying this disease. People really believe that owning an albino body part will cure/prevent AIDS? My word. What a world we live in!

I know Africa has the most serious problem and that AIDS is pandemic throughout the world. I DIDN'T know it's transmitted from mother to child by breast-feeding. Those poor babies! No chance at all. I found that was both moving and appalling.

Thank you for a very well-informed, interesting and hopefully helpful article.

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Cape Town Author

Paradise, I hope some of the myths people have will be laid to rest.

emohealer profile image

emohealer 7 years ago from South Carolina

You hit the nail right on the head.......This is a much needed article with information that should be disseminated on the highest level. I hope you don't mind if I "digg" this one, it really needs to be shared and read. I had heard most of the myths, but some of them even caught me unawares. Two thumbs up, keep the information on real topics that are needed coming!!!!!!

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Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 7 years ago from United States

Very good hub

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Cape Town Author

Thanks Emohealer, I think living in Africa, one is more aware of the myths out there.

Ugg, sounds like those boots could be used as condoms.

Pam, thanks for popping in.

terrowhite profile image

terrowhite 7 years ago

thats a very very informative hub.. thanks for sharing teh information.. :)

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Cape Town Author

Terrowhite, I really think we need to make people aware.

blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

You know even learned something today thanks Cin.

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Cape Town Author

Hey BP we are all lifelong learners!

RachaelLefler profile image

RachaelLefler 6 years ago from Illinois

Wow, I had no idea that some people had some of those misconceptions! Good hub!

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Cape Town Author

Rachael, it's amazing how people just blindly believe utter rubbish told to them by people who should know better.

JonBoy0311 profile image

JonBoy0311 6 years ago from Michigan, USA

Thanks for an informative read, Cindyvine. I've worked on the science end so know a little bit about HIV and AIDS but itr was interesting to read some of the crack pot ideas on how people think they could have prevented or cured it.

hubmattry profile image

hubmattry 6 years ago

nice hub thanks

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Cape Town Author

JonBoy it is amazing the strange things people believe and swear by!

Hubmattry, thanks

hellen 6 years ago

It is a heap of trash, when people blame africans for allthe bad things that happen to humans.Africa and africans are great people and great contiment. America, stop blaming others and deal with your so called discovered diseases, aids and others including vaccinations. You spread diseases to Africa thru various channels one of them being nice donating AID or money in the name of being nice and sympathetic. Africa just need sanitised water and good farming methods for good nutritious foods. Africa has their own doctors who question the valifity of western medicine. The method used used to make a diagnosis is not even valid. So what is this big MESS?

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Cape Town Author

Hellen I agree, people should stop blaming Africans for the bad things.

Robin Stachnik 6 years ago

Hellen, while I more than agree that its assanine to stereotypically blame any Good farming, nutrition, and water will neither cure or prevent aids. This article did not blame Africans it only stated that the health minister Manto Tshabala-Msimang is sharing knowledge falsely to South Africans that is hurting them and with the high aids rate, lack of education, and as you pointed out nutrition, western and eastern medicine should be combined to treat it as thoroughly as possible. Two groups of people can teach each other things for the benefit of everyone.

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Cape Town Author

Well said Robin!

Bill 5 years ago

Helen you are an idiot, get off your horse and stop being such a typical liberal

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 5 years ago from Cape Town Author

lol @ Bill!

chelly chelle profile image

chelly chelle 5 years ago from West Virginia

great story! my uncle died in 1990 due to complications from AIDS, six years later his partner passed away. This disease literally ravished their bodies, an awful sight it was. my uncle had the unfortunate circumstance of living and dying with/from HIV during a very cruel era. we need more stories like this...it keeps the awareness level high.

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 5 years ago from Cape Town Author

Chelly Chelle, the thing is that you die from other diseases when you suffer from AIDS because you have no immun e system that works to protect you.

chelly chelle profile image

chelly chelle 5 years ago from West Virginia

Yep, I am aware of that, I work with HIV positive clients...hope there is a cure one day

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 5 years ago from Cape Town Author

Chelly, at the risk of putting my neck out there and making a huge sweeping statement, I'd like to say that a lot of Malaria deaths in Africa are AIDS related, as the people do no have the immunity to fight the Malaria because of the HIV-AIDS in their system.

Anjo Bacarisas II profile image

Anjo Bacarisas II 4 years ago from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

Sex with a virgin and animal will cure AIDS? really? i never thought of that.. this hub is so interesting, thanks for sharing, you did great!

cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 4 years ago from Cape Town Author

Thanks Anjo, we just need to make people aware.

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