Today is the 27th anniversary of World Aids Day. The day seeks to raise awareness of the “AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and commemorates those who have died of the disease.” An estimate of 36.9 million people in the world are living with HIV and the United Nations is pushing to end Aids by 2030. Despite ongoing efforts to raise awareness, there are still many misconceptions about HIV/Aids:

  1. “HIV is the same as AIDS.” HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV can remain in a latent state for many years and not progress to AIDS. However if left untreated, HIV can advance to AIDS. AIDS is defined as  having a “lymphocyte count under 200 cells/μl or HIV infection plus co-infection with an AIDS-defining opportunistic infection.” Get it? Got it? Good.
  2. “HIV is not the cause of AIDS” Uh ?!?!?!?
  3. “You can get AIDS from hugging someone” Completely untrue unless the hugging is of the genital kind.
  4. “He looks like he has AIDS” And you look like an unpleasant human being! There is no “look.”
  5. “AIDS came from humans having sex with monkeys” WRONG!
  6. “You can cure AIDS by having sex with animals” Are these animals the same monkeys that we got the AIDS from?
  7. “…ok having sex with virgins will cure AIDS” What is wrong with you people?
  8. “It’s a gay disease” NO!
  9. “It’s a black disease” NO! AIDS affect certain groups of people disproportionately but it is very much a HUMAN disease. We’re all in this together.
  10. “Magic Johnson has the cure for AIDS” Hmm ? could be on to something here but NO! Magic Johnson  has been living with HIV for 20+ years. His HIV has not progressed to AIDS.
  11. “Only people like Charlie Sheen get it.” You need to be promiscuous to catch HIV. About 200 babies are born with HIV every year in the U.S.
  12. “You can’t live a normal life with HIV/AIDS.” Ask the the people living full lives with HIV.

Education is integral to removing the stigma of HIV/AIDS and even more important in ending AIDS for good. Read more on HIV/AIDs here and join the fight.

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