The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is a virus that attacks the cells of the immune system, causing an alteration or cancellation of its functioning, that is, it makes it unable to fight infections and diseases that attack the body. When it reaches a more advanced stage, it is known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and can take between 2 to 15 years to manifest if not treated in time.
Since its appearance in 1981, HIV/AIDS has been one of the biggest public health problems, claiming more than 32 million lives.
According to a UNAIDS report, stigma and discrimination can be barriers to eradicating the virus. Here are some myths and truths that exist around HIV.
Can HIV be transmitted through a mosquito bite?
No, the virus cannot be transmitted by mosquito or other insect bites, as the virus cannot survive inside it.
Can I get HIV from being in contact with an infected person?
No. The virus is not spread by shaking hands or hugging an infected person.
HIV can only be transmitted through sexual intercourse, by sharing needles and syringes, from mother to child, and by blood transfusion.
Can’t people with HIV have children?
Many people with HIV have managed to have children without being virus carriers. Currently, some strategies allow people with HIV to have children without the risk of transmitting the virus to them.
Is HIV the same as AIDS?
No. HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus that affects the body’s immune system and AIDS is the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which is the most advanced stage of HIV.
Can you tell if a person has HIV with the naked eye?
No. A person with HIV can look and feel fine, and still carry the virus. The only way to know is with an HIV test.
Remember that prevention is vital to be able to detect the virus and initiate timely treatment that allows you to lead a good quality of life and increase your life expectancy.