Having spent the whole of last week testing people for HIV, I thought I might share some of the myths that people have come up with.
1. You cannot get HIV from kissing. One guy was absolutely hell bent on testing for HIV after kissing someone "dodgy". I explained to him that unless, both of them were bleeding profusely from their tongues, there was no risk.
2. You cannot get cured from HIV by having sex with a virgin. Unfortunately this is a big one in Sub-Saharan Africa. Traditional healers would tell this to clients and this started the epidemic of the raping of young children. Absolutely horrific!
3. HIV is not spread only by gay people, IV drug users or African people. Minnie Mouse, one of the patients that you will meet later this week in Flashback Fridays, reassured herself that her partner was not HIV positive because he was not from Africa, not gay or a drug user. Wake up! HIV is everywhere. It affects people from all walks of life.
4. You can't get HIV from oral sex. I have seen so many people who have had sex with a condom, but not with oral sex. They then read up online about HIV and have a freak out that they didn't use a condom for oral sex too. How many bored housewives or business men are completely ignorant? Too many!
5. You can't get HIV through sex if you didn't take off your clothes. This is the best one. Saw a young chinese man, who had visited a prostitute. He had chickened out when it came time to perform the deed, but there was some rubbing, although he remained fully clothed. He was insistent that he could have contracted the disease. This is the complete other extreme, and I eventually had to do an HIV test.
6. ARVS don't help. See the movie below.