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Myths and Misconceptions on HIV/AIDS

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Myths and Misconceptions on HIV/AIDS

Different misconceptions and myths are associated with HIV/AIDS. One of the untrue believes that is common with various people is that the disease is transmitted from one person to another by merely being around an individual who is suffering from HIV/AIDS (“7 Common Misconceptions About HIV | Ending HIV NSW”, 2019).  This opinion is false because researchers conducting research on the disease have established that HIV/AIDS is not transmitted through shaking hands, hugging, kissing, sharing food, or from using the same air when breathing.

Similarly, there has been a misconception in various societies that mosquito bites cause HIV/AIDS (Cold, Health & Disease, 2019).  This belief is also associated with the fact that the people who hold this view are also aware that the virus is transmitted through infected blood. To that end, they subscribe to the idea that insect bites can transfer blood from one person to another and thus act as a platform through which the disease can be spread to a person who is HIV negative. What these people do not have a proper understanding in is that when the insects bite a person, they do not inject the fluid from another individual who they had bitten earlier. Besides, the HIV virus stays for a very short time in the body system of mosquitoes.Myths and Misconceptions on HIV/AIDS

Besides, there has been an opinion in several communities that HIV/AIDS is not spread through oral sex AIDS (“7 Common Misconceptions About HIV | Ending HIV NSW”, 2019). Even though it is true that oral sex does not have a high probability of transmitting the disease, it is still a channel through which the HIV virus can be transferred from one person to another. Research has pointed out that for every ten thousand acts, between zero to four people contact the disease through oral sex.

There has also been a belief that it is easy to tell when a person is HIV positive by just looking at the individual (Cold, Health & Disease, 2019). This opinion which is shared by several people in different communities considers numerous factors, for instance, if you are slim, the people in that particular community, may view you as being HIV positive.  This method of establishing whether a person has HIV/AIDS is not true because the only sure way of ensuring that a person has AIDS or not is through getting a test.

Equally, there has been a misconception that one needs not to worry about contracting the virus because drugs will always ensure that the person is well (“7 Common Misconceptions About HIV |AIDS Ending HIV NSW”, 2019).  People who subscribe to this view do not have an understanding that several antiretroviral drugs are costly and they also have side effects.  However, it is true that the medication makes the lives of HIV-positive people better and also ensures that they live longer. It is also critical for groups of people holding this belief to have the knowledge that the best way of dealing with the dangers associated with HIV/AIDS is through prevention. It is better than trying to handle a life-long issue.Myths and Misconceptions on HIV/AIDS

Moreover, there has been a belief among several communities around the globe that it is irrelevant for a couple infected with the virus to protect themselves (Cold, Health & Disease, 2019).  The lack of an understanding that there exist various strains of HIV makes these people opine to such perspectives. The medication works towards reducing the effects of a particular strain of HIV. It is challenging for a person to get treatment for more than one strain of HIV.

Findings

Research conducted over the years in African-American communities has demonstrated several facts about HIV/AIDS among the Blacks in the United States.  In the year 1981, DCC published a report in which it highlighted what is today known as HIV/AIDS. The report describes twenty-six cases of people who were infected by the virus (CDC. Fact Sheet, 2018). It further pointed out that one of the twenty-six infected people was a black American. In the following year, research by the same group of people established that the number for the Black Americans suffering from the virus had risen to more than eighty-six people.  This constituted 20% of the individuals who were reported to be suffering from HIV/AIDS in the year 1982 (CDC.Fact Sheet, 2018).To identify the causes of AIDS, several research studies were conducted in the following years. It was not until 1984 that Dr. Robert Gallo had a breakthrough on what causes the disease. In his report, the doctor mentioned that AIDS is caused by a virus known as the human immunodeficiency virus.  In the same year, CDC reported that half of all the pediatric cases of AIDS were associated with the Black Americans. Further studies revealed that among women, African American females accounted for 51% of the women who were reported to be suffering from HIV/AIDS. The rate was thrice the number of women whites who were suffering from the disease.Myths and Misconceptions on HIV/AIDS

To curb the rise of HIV/AIDs among the African-Americans, several organizations took an initiative to create awareness among the people from this community. For instance, there was a launch of the “Black Faith Initiative “by CDC.  The aim of the CDC was to ensure that information on HIV/AIDS prevention reached Black Americans through their faith-based organizations. A few years later, a new study conducted pointed out the rate of new infections among the African-Americans was higher than that of the whites. Since then, this rate has been the same. In the year 1993, HIV/AIDS was announced as the leading killer disease for the blacks who were men in the United States of America (CDC.Fact Sheet, 2018). This was for the people aged between the ages of twenty-five and forty-four.  Similarly, it was reported as the second leading cause of death for women in the same category of age among the African-Americans.

In 2017, a survey conducted by a group of researchers from the US demonstrated that the southern region of the nation had the majority of the African-Americans suffering from HIV/AIDS (CDC.Fact Sheet, 2018).  This accounted for 63% of all the cases of Black Americans suffering from the disease (“State Health Facts”, 2019). In 2016, the rate of Blacks in the same region suffering from HIV/AIDS accounted for 58% of all the cases of the Black Americans suffering from the disease. In the US, the states that are known as the homes to the Black Americans have the highest cases of HIV/AIDS prevalence, for instance, statistics in 2016 demonstrated that New York and Florida had some of the highest cases of the people suffering from the disease (CDC. Fact Sheet, 2018). Overall, the highest number of African-Americans living with HIV/AIDS was reported in the District of Colombia.

For the purposes of prevention and healthcare, several Americans reported having been involved in HIV testing.  Of these people, 76 % of them, aged eighteen years and above, were reported to be black Americans (“State Health Facts”, 2019).  For those who were found to be suffering from the illness, 20% of the African-Americans revealed that they were tested during the late stages of the HIV/AIDS(“State Health Facts”, 2019).

Discussion-myths and Misconceptions on HIV/AIDS

The data on HIV/AIDS collected by the researchers demonstrate that Blacks are more prone to be infected by the disease than any other group in the United States. There are several factors that are attributed to this. For instance, the Blacks live in high poverty levels, they also have limited access to healthcare and above all, they have insufficient awareness opportunities on HIV/AIDS. However, the numbers for Blacks suffering from HIV/AIDS in the US has been going down. This is particularly among black women.  It is important for the nation to focus more on HIV/AIDS prevention among the blacks through ensuring that they are enlightened on the preventive measures.

One of the things that we learn from the findings on HIV/AIDS is that there is a large percentage of the blacks in the US who go for an HIV test during the late stages of the infection.  This can have a detrimental effect on the victim because the disease may have done damage that is beyond repair. To that end, I strongly recommend that the US government comes up with awareness activities aimed at encouraging the black people of America to go for an HIV test on a regular basis. If an infection is earlier detected, then it is easier for a person to get a treatment that would not only improve his/her life but also prolong the years in which they will stay alive.

The US government should also work towards ensuring that blacks have sufficient access to healthcare.  By doing so, it is going to be easier for the government to reduce the high number of new HIV/AIDS infections for the Blacks within the nation.  Besides, the US Central Administration should come up with learning opportunities for all the Americans where they can enlighten the public on the dangers of stigmatizing people living with HIV/AIDS. Stigmatization is evil and barbaric because it lowers the self-esteem of the HIV/AIDS victims and thus negatively influencing the manner in which they make their decisions, for instance, they may fail to go to the hospitals to receive their medication.  It will thus, be important for the government to inform the public and discourage the citizens from participating in discriminatory behavior.

Besides, one of the possible reasons why the new increase on the number of the people infected with HIV/AIDS is always higher for the Blacks than other groups of people is because there is low use of contraceptives. To that end, the government should strengthen sexual and reproductive health education in the states where the majority of the blacks live.Myths and Misconceptions on HIV/AIDS

 

 

Conclusion-myths and Misconceptions on HIV/AIDS

In conclusion, from the above discussions, it is crystal clear that HIV/AIDS is a disease that is negatively affecting the African-Americans. The infection is associated with various myths and misconceptions. However, several studies conducted have revealed that the disease is caused by body fluids such as vaginal fluids and blood. In America, statistics have indicated that Blacks are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infection because of the prevalence of high poverty levels and having limited access to health care. It is thus important for the government to come up with measures aimed at reducing the high numbers of the Blacks suffering from AIDS. For instance, the US government can strengthen the sexual reproductive health in the areas where the majority of Blacks are living.

 

References

7 Common Misconceptions About HIV | Ending HIV NSW. (2019). Retrieved from https://endinghiv.org.au/blog/7-common-misconceptions-hiv/

CDC.Fact Sheet. (2018). HIV and African Americans.

Cold, Health, & Disease. (2019). 10 Common Myths About HIV and AIDS. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/top-10-myths-misconceptions-about-hiv-aids#1

HIV Surveillance Report. (2017). Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2017. National Center For HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD And TB Prevention, 29.

HIV Surveillance Report, C. (2018). Monitoring Selected National HIV Prevention and Care Objectives by Using HIV Surveillance Data United States and 6 Dependent Areas, 2016. National Center For HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD And TB Prevention, 23(4).

State Health Facts. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/statedata/