9 questions you may have about HIV
There are certain questions around HIV that you might want answers to but are too afraid to ask. Not knowing having answers to certain questions can give you a negative view about specific groups of people and even about HIV. So here are answers to a few interesting questions that you may have been scratching your head about. Hopefully the answers will help you get rid of some stigmas you may have and take away some of your fears.
1. Where does HIV come from?
This is a tough one because no one really knows. There have been some rumors about HIV coming from monkeys or certain animals or types of people. There are also some who say it started in Africa while others say America. But the truth is chomas, right now no one really knows.
2. Does being gay mean you’ll get HIV?
Not at all. This is a stigma that most likely started because some of the first cases of AIDS that were recorded in America were found in 'gay' men. But being gay doesn’t automatically mean that you will contract or that you have contracted HIV. It’s true that anal sex is the highest risk when it comes to contracting HIV but vaginal sex is the most common way HIV is spread.
3. Can lesbians also get HIV?
While it's unlikely that a women will contract HIV while having sex with another woman, it's not impossible. Let's say one woman is bisexual and had sex with an HIV-infected man before, or perhaps one woman contracted HIV through sharing a needle with an infected person, she could still give her partner HIV through vaginal or other bodily fluids being shared (during unprotected sex), blood from menstruation or blood from cuts/bruises on the vagina.
4. If you get HIV, how long would it take before you died?
HIV used to be seen as a death sentence when it was first discovered because doctors and scientists had not yet figured out how to control the virus. However, these days with ARV (Antiretroviral) and health management, you could live a long life with HIV. So to answer the question, it depends on whether you are able to take care of yourself and get access to ARVs. Living longer is more likely if you detect the virus early and are put on ARVs early. People don't die of HIV, they die of AIDS-related illnesses. If you don’t have treatment, HIV could destroy your CD4 positive T cells (the white cells in your blood that help the function of your immune system), making it harder for you to fight off infections and diseases. This then leads to the development of AIDS. ARVs are meant to delay AIDS and therefore lead to you living a longer life.
5. If I am HIV negative and stay with one partner, can I still get HIV?
This is also unlikely to happen, but it's not impossible. The only way that you would be at risk of contracting HIV is if your partner cheats on you with an HIV positive person and becomes infected, if your partner takes drugs and becomes infected or if your partner is already HIV positive. This is why it is important for you to be tested with your partner and for you to both agree to be in a trusting monogamous relationship (meaning you don’t have any other partners). To be safe, you should also always use condoms.
6. Can you get HIV from kissing?
So far, there hasn't been a recorded case of HIV being spread through saliva so the risk of spreading HIV through kissing is low. However, if you both have cuts in your mouth or have bleeding gums, the risk becomes higher as HIV is spread through blood.
7. Why do poorer people get HIV?
HIV is not a "poor-people's virus". Anyone, and I mean anyone, can contract HIV. Contracting HIV is as easy as having unprotected sex with someone who has HIV, it is not a disease that chooses specific people. Unfortunately, HIV is a problem in Africa, especially in the 'poorer' rural areas. This could come down to a lack of knowledge around the spread of HIV (because this information is not made available or because there is a lack of education). The healthcare in poorer areas is also not as good as in other places so many people in rural areas don't have access to ARVs. Pregnant mothers who are not on ARVs and don't have proper healthcare are more likely transfer HIV to their babies, increasing the spread of HIV.
8. Can people be 'healed' of HIV or AIDS?
Right now, there is no cure for HIV or AIDS. That's a fact. Someone who has contracted HIV or who has AIDS can't reverse the process of infection. However, we are probably getting closer and closer to finding a cure. So perhaps this will be possible in the near future.
9. What’s the difference between HIV and AIDS? Isn’t it the same thing?
No it's not the same thing chomas. HIV is the virus that is passed on from one person to another. Like I mentioned in question 4, AIDS is the disease caused by HIV. This happens when HIV destroys the CD4 count cells and your body can’t fight infections and diseases anymore. However, with ART (Antiretroviral therapy) the level of HIV can be kept low and not develop into AIDS.
Do you have any more questions chomas? Feel free to ask me!
Did you find this article helpful? Yes No