SINGAPUR: "It's a death sentence" is a common, but misinterpreted complaint when most people discuss HIV or the human immunodeficiency virus.
On Monday (January 28th), it was reported that the HIV positive status of 14,200 people in Singapore broke up online an American citizen Mikhy Farrer Brochez, citing many to speculate about the virus and how it is transmitted.
READ OUT: Mikhy Brochez, an American wanted in Singapore for leakage of HIV data, accused in the United States for stopping possession
Here are some common misconceptions about HIV:
1. Myth: HIV is transmitted only through sex
HIV can spread unprotected sex with a partner who is HIV positive. However, it can also be expanded through non-sexual contact and resources, as certain bodily fluids such as blood and maternal milk can also transmit the virus.
This means that the virus can be transmitted by dividing the needle, receiving transfusions of infected blood, or from an HIV positive mother to a child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding.
HIV can not spread by social contact such as touch, kissing and hugging because the virus does not survive long outside the human body.
Myth 2: HIV can be easily expanded
Although there is no cure for HIV, the spread of the virus can be maintained.
Those with HIV status may seek antiretroviral drugs that suppress the virus. Taking a combination of these medicines can reduce the amount of virus in the blood and body fluids of the infected person.
This greatly reduces the chances that an infected person transmits HIV to a sexual partner.
Even before HIV infection, these antiretroviral drugs can be used to prevent infection if someone suspects they might have been exposed to the virus. However, it must begin within 72 hours of suspicion of HIV exposure.
Those at higher risk of HIV can also take precautionary measures such as Preexposing Prophylaxis (PrEP), which consists of two antiviral drugs – tenofovir and emtricitabine – which, when taken, reduce the risk of HIV infection.
Finally, using a condom can also reduce the risk of getting HIV.
MIT 3: HIV = AIDS
The acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is caused by HIV but refers to the final phase of HIV infection. AIDS occurs if the virus has managed to compromise the immune system.
How HIV destroys white blood cells that are vitally important to the body to fight infections could progress and become AIDS.
However, HIV can take up to 10 years to develop into AIDS. Even then, not everyone with HIV will see how their condition develops in AIDS.
The Fourth Myth: HIV is transmitted through sex between men
According to the HealthHub Ministry of Health portal, 90 percent of HIV infections in Singapore occur through sexual intercourse, but 60 percent of these infections stem from heterosexual relationships.
Of the population living in Singapore living with HIV / AIDS, as documented between 1985 and 2017, 4,439 infected the virus through heterosexual relationships, compared with 2,557 of homosexual sexual relationships.
MIT 5: HIV IS A SMILING CRISIS
It is not.
While it is true that HIV can not cure, progress in medical treatment means that now it is now living longer, healthier than when the virus appeared in the early 1980s.
With advanced treatment, the life expectancy and quality of life of someone living with the virus can drastically improve to be at the same level as someone without a virus, says Action for Aids, a Singapore-based group of representatives.
(Sources: Ministry of Health, HealthHub, Aid for Action, World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)