The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is infamous for its lethality. During the AIDS scare in the US in the 1980s, this virus killed thousands of people. Today, the virus is still found in people all over the world. It is transmitted through anal or vaginal sex with an infected party and is thus considered a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Thankfully, modern medical advancements have significantly improved the lives of people living with HIV. There are even various HIV testing clinics in Singapore that can help you check if you have HIV. Medicines also exist for HIV-positive patients that help to suppress the effects of HIV. While these improvements exist, there is still some public perception about HIV that do not seem to go away. This article will debunk a few common HIV-related myths that some Singaporeans may still believe to be true.
Myth #1: HIV is a death sentence
While it was once true that being infected with HIV means you would die soon after, this is no longer the case. There are now medicines that can suppress the virus, thereby reducing the viral load to a minimum. What this means is that HIV-positive people may not have their immune system deteriorate quickly to the virus – instead, the virus stays dormant inside the patient over a period of many years. Some patients do not develop Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) until twenty years later. As such, while HIV is still incurable, it is no longer considered a death sentence due to the effects of these medicines. All HIV-positive patients can get prescriptions for these antiretroviral medications at STD clinics in Singapore.
Myth #2: HIV can be transmitted through non-sexual means
Part of the fear surrounding HIV in the 1980s was based on the fact that no one knew for sure how the virus transmitted. Everyone was afraid of kissing an HIV-positive patient, sharing utensils with them or using the same toilet as them. Thankfully, it has been scientifically proven that HIV does not transfer through these methods. In fact, there are only three main ways that HIV can be transmitted: through unprotected sexual intercourse, through the sharing of unsterilised needles or through consumption of breast milk from an infected person. HIV-positive people cannot spread the disease otherwise. Knowing this is also important in helping HIV-positive patients feel welcome in the family or in society. They can function fully as any other employee or family member.
Myth #3: HIV only affects certain groups of people
While it is true that certain groups of people are more likely to contract HIV due to their circumstances (e.g. sex workers), no one is completely immune to HIV. There is no vaccine currently available for HIV. Everyone is equally susceptible to HIV if they engage in unprotected sex. It is thus important for every sexually active person, regardless of sexual orientation, to learn of the proper methods of contraception and what to do if they ever end up having unprotected sex, including seeing an STD doctor for HIV PEP in Singapore.
HIV is not as scary as it was in the 1980s, especially with modern medical advancements and various HIV testing clinics in Singapore. It is important for everyone in a modern society to fully understand the truth about this virus to both prevent its transmission and accept HIV-positive patients into our society.