- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
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.
Find out more about AIDS
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.