Bhubaneswar, Dec 1 (LocalWire): World AIDS Day is being observed today to create awareness about HIV and AIDS.
Odisha is home to about 50,000 HIV/AIDS-infected people. Last year, 2,262 HIV positive cases were diagnosed. Of them 515 were pregnant women.
The rate of detection of HIV/AIDS has come down in recent years due to increased level of awareness.
One needs to be sensitized regarding the myths and superstitious beliefs that surround the disease in some parts of the state.
1. The most common myth around HIV is that HIV and AIDS are the same. But HIV is a virus While HIV is a virus that may cause an infection, AIDS (which is short for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a condition. So to bracket HIV-infected people and AIDS patients on the same platform is wrong.
2.Another misconception is that pregnant women are destined to transmit the disease to their to-be babies in the womb.
This is not the case always. The drugs that are administered to the would-be-mothers reduce the threat of virus transmitting to the newborn.
3. Incidents like denying cremation to HIV/AIDS carrier have been reported in the state in the past. Fear was that the smoke billowing from the body will infect healthy people. However, heath personnel dismiss this theory outright.
4.Exchange of bodily fluids from infected people such as blood, breast milk, semen and vaginal secretions could lead to transmission of this disease or it may spread through sharing drug paraphernalia (such as needles) with people who are HIV-infected.
It’s not air-borne as the myth is prevalent in the state, said senior medicine specialist, Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar, Rajib Kumar Jena.
5. The superstitious mindset of people has changed a lot. HIV carriers were ostracized in the past.
The family members also bore the brunt as neighbours kept safe distance. Children had also fallen prey to this disturbing social scenario.
But people have now realized that their misconception and there has been an attitudinal change towards the disease now.
6.The disease does not spread by air and water. Thus, there is no reason of worry to be in company of an infected person.
7. Casual contact like hugging, shaking hands, sharing household objects, sneezing household objects does not lead to the spread of the virus from one person to the other.
8.Physical contacts touching or caressing the infected person’s body does not lead to spread of disease if the contact is bereft of exchange of fluids.
9.When some people are first infected with HIV, they can experience flulike symptoms such as fatigue, fever, headache, sore throat, and muscle and joint pain within the first two to four weeks.
(Other symptoms include painful, swollen lymph nodes and a skin rash with small pink or red bumps.)
But many other people won’t experience any symptoms at all during this early (acute) stage of infection, the CDC reports, and they can spread the virus without realizing it.
The only way to know for sure whether you or your partner is HIV positive is to get tested. Late-stage HIV — before it becomes AIDS — does cause symptoms, but these can be confused with other ailments.
10. Without treatment, people who are diagnosed with AIDS don’t die instantly but can survive for about three years.