Sex with an uninfected virgin does not cure an HIV-infected person, and such contact will expose the uninfected individual to HIV, potentially further spreading the disease.This myth has gained considerable notoriety as the perceived reason for certain sexual abuse and child molestation occurrences, including the rape of infants, in Africa.In 2002, the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) in Johannesburg, South Africa, recorded beliefs amongst youths that sex with animals is a means to avoid AIDS or cure it if infected.
In 2007, UNAIDS estimated: 33.2 million people worldwide were living with HIV; AIDS killed 2.1 million people in the course of that year, including 330,000 children, and 76% of those deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.According to the UNAIDS 2009 report, some 60 million people worldwide have been infected with HIV, resulting in approximately 25 million deaths and 14 million orphaned children in southern Africa alone since the epidemic began decades ago.Misconceptions about HIV and AIDS arise from several different sources, from simple ignorance and misunderstandings about scientific knowledge regarding HIV infections and the etiology of AIDS to misinformation propagated by individuals and groups with ideological stances that deny a causative relationship between HIV infection and the development of AIDS.Disease-specific drugs can also alleviate symptoms of AIDS and even cure specific AIDS-defining conditions in some cases.Medical treatment can reduce HIV infection in many cases to a survivable chronic condition.
However, these advances do not constitute a cure, since current treatment regimens cannot eradicate latent HIV from the body.
High levels of HIV-1 (often HAART-resistant) develop if treatment is stopped, if compliance with treatment is inconsistent, or if the virus spontaneously develops resistance to an individual's regimen.
Below is a list and explanations of some common misconceptions and their rebuttals.
not all HIV-positive individuals have AIDS, as HIV can remain in a latent state for many years.
If undiagnosed or left untreated, HIV usually progresses to AIDS, defined as possessing a CD4+ lymphocyte count under 200 cells/μl or HIV infection plus co-infection with an AIDS-defining opportunistic infection.
Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART) in many cases allows the stabilization of the patient's symptoms, partial recovery of CD4+ T-cell levels, and reduction in viremia (the level of virus in the blood) to low or near-undetectable levels.