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World AIDS Day 2020: Experts Debunk Some Of The Common Myths About HIV And AIDS

According to experts, misconceptions can prevent individuals from making timely and informed choices and taking appropriate actions. On the occasion of World AIDS Day, experts busts some of the common myths around HIV and AIDS

World AIDS Day 2020: Experts Debunk Some Of The Common Myths About HIV And AIDS
Highlights
  • HIV can lead to AIDS if proper and timely treatment is not taken: Experts
  • World AIDS Day is celebrated every year on December 1
  • As of now, there is no cure for HIV: Experts

New Delhi: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the spread of HIV and AIDS has affected crores of people worldwide. As pre an estimate by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), over 3.8 crore people are living with HIV worldwide. UNAIDS recommends that awareness can play a vital role in combatting the disease. On the occasion of World AIDS Day, which is celebrated every year on December 1 to raise awareness among people about HIV and AIDS, NDTV spoke with Dr. Veena Aggarwal, Gynaecologist, Consultant Women’s Health, Medtalks.in, an online medical platform which provides continuous medical education to doctors and paramedical staff and Dr. Tanaya Narendra, Sexual and Reproductive Health Expert, Pee Safe, a manufacturer of daily hygiene products to debunk some of the most common myths and misconceptions around the infection. Experts asserted that misconceptions can prevent individuals from making informed choices and taking appropriate actions on time in order to live longer and healthier lives even with HIV.

Also Read: World AIDS Day 2020: Five Things To Know About HIV Infection

Fact: HIV does not always lead to AIDS

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that can cause AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) but this does not mean that all HIV positive persons will develop the disease. Early treatment of HIV infection can prevent AIDS. Dr. Aggarwal explained,

If a person is HIV-positive, it means they have the HIV virus in their body. AIDS is a syndrome of immune system deficiency that is the result of HIV attacking the immune system over time and is associated with weakened immune response. AIDS is the last stage of HIV infection but it can be prevented easily if a person takes medication to keep the levels of HIV infection under control. This can help in maintaining a healthy immune system for a long time and therefore preventing other infections caused due to weaker immune response and a diagnosis of AIDS.

Fact: HIV infection does not only occur in homosexual men and drug abusers

According to Dr. Narendra, this is one of the most common misconceptions since the beginning of the epidemic. She said that anyone who does not practise safe sex or uses contaminated needles can get HIV and if left untreated without medication to stop replication of the virus in their bodies, they can develop AIDS.

FACT: HIV cannot be transmitted through casual human contact like hugging an infected person

HIV cannot be transmitted through touch, tears, sweat, saliva, or pee, said experts. They said that one cannot catch it by activities like breathing the same air, touching a toilet seat or door knob or handle, sharing utensils, hugging, kissing, or shaking hands. Dr. Aggarwal said,

One can contract HIV from contaminated needles, infected blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or breast milk.

Also Read: Expert Blog: HIV Prevention- Ending The HIV Epidemic Together

FACT: HIV cannot be transmitted through insect bites

“This is such a common myth, I don’t know who started it and why? Even though the virus is passed through blood, there is no need to be worried about a vector carrying it,” said Dr. Narendra. She added that while biting or sucking blood, insects do not inject the blood from a person or animal they had bitten earlier.

FACT: There is a need of using protection even if both partners are HIV-positive

Fact: According to Dr. Narendra, using protection during sexual intercourse is extremely important, no matter what the HIV status of an individual is. She said,

The HIV virus has many strains. Also, the viral load among individuals differs. While one person may have low viral load, another may have high. Thus, the risk is always there of their condition getting worse. Besides, there are many more diseases that can spread through unprotected sex such as herpes and gonorrhoea.

FACT: Having HIV does not mean death

“With proper treatment, people with HIV are living absolutely normal and healthy life,” says Dr. Aggarwal.

She added that HIV positive individuals who are receiving proper antiretroviral therapy (ART) can expect to live a normal life span, so long as they take their prescribed medications and follow a healthy lifestyle to avoid other infections.

Also Read: World Aids Day 2020: India Needs Stronger Focus On Addressing Mother To Child Transmission Of HIV, Says Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, UNAIDS

FACT: HIV-infected women can have children

Dr. Narendra said that while it is true that a mother can transmit HIV to the child during pregnancy, childbirth or later on while breastfeeding, it can be prevented by taking the required treatment. She said,

A woman with HIV who is preparing for pregnancy must take help of her healthcare provider to begin ART (antiretroviral therapy) treatment, recommended for HIV, as soon as possible. The risk of transmitting HIV to the baby can be reduced to a significantly less levels if a woman takes her medicine daily as recommended by a healthcare provider throughout her entire pregnancy including labour and delivery and continues medicine for her baby for four to six weeks after birth.

The WHO says that an HIV-positive woman can breastfeed her baby through the first year, provided she has an undetectable viral load in her body and she takes antiretroviral drugs throughout the period of breastfeeding.

FACT: HIV and AIDS cannot be cured

According to Dr. Narendra, as of now, there is no cure for HIV. However, she said that it can be kept at the level at which it cannot be detected via tests through medications meant for reducing the replication of the virus which reverses the immunodeficiency syndrome. Dr. Aggarwal said that suppressing the viral load to undetectable levels makes individuals living with HIV far less likely to pass the virus to others. However, due to the lack of awareness and the stigma around AIDS, people hesitate to get tested and take proper treatment. This not only puts them at risk of developing chronic life-threatening conditions but also puts others at the risk of contracting the virus.

Also Read: World AIDS Day 2020: A Look At How HIV-AIDS Has Been Impacting The World

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

23,96,06,768Cases
20,13,42,617Active
3,33,82,100Recovered
48,82,051Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 23,96,06,768 and 48,82,051 have died; 20,13,42,617 are active cases and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 4:15 am.

India

3,40,37,592 16,862Cases
2,03,6782,908Active
3,33,82,100 19,391Recovered
4,51,814 379Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,37,592 confirmed cases including 4,51,814 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,03,678 and 3,33,82,100 have recovered as on October 15, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,86,280 2,384

33,157 6

64,13,418 2,343

1,39,705 35

Kerala

48,29,944 9,246

96,421 1,802

47,06,856 10,952

26,667 96

Karnataka

29,82,399 310

9,607 43

29,34,870 347

37,922 6

Tamil Nadu

26,83,396 1,259

15,451 199

26,32,092 1,438

35,853 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,59,122 540

6,588 27

20,38,248 557

14,286 10

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,008 12

135 4

16,86,976 16

22,897

West Bengal

15,79,012 530

7,576 81

15,52,491 601

18,945 10

Delhi

14,39,311 28

337 1

14,13,885 29

25,089

Odisha

10,33,809 521

4,890 38

10,20,645 477

8,274 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,614 16

203 4

9,91,841 20

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,382 8

42 6

9,45,386 2

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,244 34

215 20

8,15,943 14

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,669 12

111 1

7,82,035 11

10,523

Haryana

7,71,035 16

105 158

7,60,881

10,049 174

Bihar

7,26,016 8

42 6

7,16,313 2

9,661

Telangana

6,68,618 168

4,171 40

6,60,512 207

3,935 1

Assam

6,05,847 207

3,646 157

5,96,263 362

5,938 2

Punjab

6,01,971 33

234 11

5,85,199 16

16,538 6

Jharkhand

3,48,406 11

130 4

3,43,141 7

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,729 28

175 22

3,36,157 6

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,30,834 93

935 11

3,25,473 104

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,113 182

1,387 5

2,16,011 173

3,715 4

Goa

1,77,356 68

679 27

1,73,342 39

3,335 2

Puducherry

1,27,259 49

647 4

1,24,763 53

1,849

Manipur

1,22,432 69

1,444 15

1,19,099 84

1,889

Mizoram

1,10,719 901

13,601 435

96,744 1,332

374 4

Tripura

84,295 4

110 8

83,369 12

816

Meghalaya

82,734 87

892 31

80,411 115

1,431 3

Chandigarh

65,295 10

32 5

64,443 15

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,958 4

202 22

54,476 26

280

Sikkim

31,722 6

224 1

31,108 7

390

Nagaland

31,516 9

230 8

30,613 17

673

Ladakh

20,867 6

44 2

20,615 4

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,675

3 1

10,668 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

2 0

10,312

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,640 3

10 1

7,501 2

129

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