There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) in the United States. Over the last several decades, the people who live with HIV have experienced a large amount of discrimination and stigma, often linked to the fear that others may have of the virus.
The best way to dispel this fear and the unfair treatment that can come along with it is by replacing misinformation with facts, and lack of understanding with knowledge. As an Orlando HIV clinic and STI clinic, Harmony Healthcare Orlando believes in bringing comprehensive HIV care to our patients, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.
Myth: You Can Get HIV From Being Around People Who Have HIV
No. This common HIV myth is one that creates one of the greatest levels of stigma, as people that believe this may think that they cannot be near someone or touch someone who has HIV. HIV is not transmitted by:
Fact: HIV Is Transmitted In Very Specific Ways
You can get HIV through the blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or breast milk of someone who is living with HIV. The most common way that HIV is transmitted is through unprotected sexual contact or by sharing injection drug equipment. If you are living with HIV, it does not mean that you will no longer be able to have sex. Medications like PrEP can almost completely eliminate the possibility of transmission to your sexual partner or partners when taken correctly.
Myth: HIV Medications Are Worse Than HIV Symptoms
Not everyone experiences the same HIV symptoms, and the symptoms that someone living with HIV can have will vary based on the individual and the stage of infection that they are in.
Fact: HIV Medications Are Safe And Help Prevent AIDS
HIV medications, or antiretrovirals, can keep people healthy for many years. Although they do not cure HIV, people died from AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) at a much higher rate before these treatments were available. While HIV drugs can have side effects, the newer medications are very easy to take and have very limited side effects.
Myth: I Don’t Need To Get Tested Because I’m Straight Or In A Monogamous Relationship
Many people incorrectly believe that their risk of transmitting HIV is eliminated because of their relationship status or sexual orientation.
Fact: Anyone Can Get HIV
1 out of every 6 men and 3 out of every 4 women who get the virus have it transmitted to them by heterosexual contact with someone who is living with HIV. Even if you are in a sexually-monogamous relationship, if your partner is sharing equipment to inject drugs, hormones, or medications, or if you are not sure of your partner’s status, it’s very important to take the right precautions and stay safe from HIV.
Come see us at our Orlando HIV and STI clinic to be tested for HIV or any other STI (sexually transmitted infection). Our services are offered in a safe, welcoming environment free from any judgment or discrimination. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.