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HIV-AIDS -Some Myths and the Truths

                                    Myth: HIV Spreads Like Wildfire
Truth: It does not spread so fast. And only 8% of people whose heterosexual

partner carries HIV become infected each year. This low infectiousness in
heterosexual relationships partly explains why HIV has spared most of the
world's populations.
But when a person is first infected with HIV, and still is negative on most
HIV tests, that person is extremely infectious. This means that in certain
circumstances HIV can spread fast.

Myth: Sex Work Is the Problem
Truth: Relatively few men with multiple sexual partners pay for sex. In
areas of Africa where HIV is widespread, men often have financial
arrangements with women who do not think of themselves as prostitutes. But
targeting prostitutes does not reach these women and will not have a major
impact on the epidemic.

                                    Myth: Men Are the Problem
Truth: In areas where HIV is widespread, women are just as likely as men, in
some areas, more likely, to be the sexual partner first infected with
HIV.The proportion among women has steadily risen. HIV disproportionately
affects women of color and women in disadvantaged populations

Myth: Teens Are the Problem
Truth: If HIV prevention efforts emphasize preaching abstinence to teens,
they won't have much effect on the epidemic. People of all ages get and
spread HIV and that where HIV is epidemic, HIV becomes more common among
women in their 20s and older.
One of the biggest myths in the U.S. is that abstinence until marriage will
keep people from getting HIV.The fact is that many young people are sexually
adventuresome. Just telling them not to have sex won't help.And there's
another U.S. myth, that teaching young people about safe sex will make them

Myth : Poverty and Discrimination Are the Problem
Truth: In the developing world, HIV is more common in wealthier people than
in poorer people. And some nations have reduced the spread of HIV without
reducing poverty levels.

Myth : Condoms Are the Answer
Truth: Where HIV is widespread, people tend to have intimate relationships
with more than one person at a time. In these regular relationships condom
use is inconsistent at best. While condom promotion certainly cannot end the
AIDS epidemic, it has a tremendous impact.

Myth: HIV Testing Is the Answer
Truth: There is a widespread belief that people who know they are infected
with HIV will act responsibly and change their risky behavior. Real-world
evidence of such change is discouraging, especially for the large majority
who test negative. People recently infected with HIV are the most
infectious, yet test negative for HIV.

: Treatment Is the Answer
Truth: There is no clear evidence that anti-HIV treatment makes people less
infectious or less likely to engage in risky behavior. In fact, such effects
may be outweighed by resumed sexual activity by infected people who feel
better. Moreover, risky behavior may increase if people no longer see HIV as
a death threat.We have very effective therapy, we do not have a cure for

Myth : New Technology Is the Answer
Truth: There's a huge amount of research into HIV vaccines, microbicides to
block HIV, and drugs to prevent HIV infection.Unfortunately, any success
appears to be far off.
And even if such breakthroughs occur, they will not stop the AIDS epidemic
unless people reduce risk behavior.

Myth: Sexual Behavior Will Not Change
Truth: When HIV was still a death sentence in the U.S., gay men made radical
changes in their behavior. And the drop in HIV prevalence in Kenya and in
Zimbabwe was marked by a large drop in multiple sexual partners.

People who have multiple sexual partners drive the spread of HIV. In areas
where HIV is widespread, people may not have a large number of sex partners,
but they have more than one at the same time.

Once HIV enters one of these small networks, the entire network is likely to
become infected. That makes having multiple concurrent partners more
dangerous than serial monogamy, in which a partner has one partner for a
time, and then another.

The important thing to understand is that while we may be having sex with
only one person, we are being exposed to the risk from all the people with
whom that person has had sex. It may be reassuring to have sex with only one person. But you still have to take personal responsibility for having safe sex.

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