Ever since the first reported outbreak in 1981, HIV/AIDS myths have been passed down like folklore. From bestiality to ‘gay disease’, HIV/AIDS has seen its fair share of “fake news”. It’s time to change that.
Human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV), as the name suggests, attacks and damages the immune system. When HIV goes untreated, it may likely develop into an even more serious condition, called acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Currently, there around 38 million people around the world who are suffering from HIV/AIDS. Who knows how many of them go through the day without experiencing any kind of discrimination. HIV/AIDS myths have managed to seep into our consciousness without the help of WhatsApp!
This week, I’m doing my part by debunking the ‘gay disease’ myth that’s seeped in homophobia.
Homophobia + new virus = gay disease
This is one of the most widely believed AIDS myths that started when the first outbreak was covered by the media. Before the scientists and health officials could even come up with a name for this new disease, people had already started calling it the ‘gay disease’.
In 1982, 270 cases were reported among the gay community. In fact, the syndrome was at one point was officially known as the gay-related immune deficiency (GRID).
It was a year later when cases among females started surfacing. But the damage was already done. Homophobia fuelled the hatred and people now had a reason to discriminate openly. Princess Diana had to step in at one point and spell out to the masses that HIV/AIDS is not a gay disease and can’t be spread through a casual touch.
HIV/AIDS can affect anyone
According to CDC, of all the new HIV cases, gay and bisexual men accounted for 70% in the USA. The reasons for this can be attributed to having anal sex without condoms or any other preventive measures.
But the argument against the homophobic is that HIV/AIDS can be transmitted through vaginal sex, as well. Also, a study conducted in 20 U.S. cities 36% of women and 44% of men aged between 25-44 admitted to having anal sex at least once in their life. So, it really doesn’t make sense to blame one particular community for the outbreak of a virus.
Fortunately or unfortunately, HIV/AIDS doesn’t see your gender or sexual preference. If you don’t take precautions before having intercourse, you will increase the chances of contracting HIV/AIDS.
Note: the above ‘community isn’t responsible for the outbreak of a virus’ is not a commentary on any recent events. Any resemblance is just a case of unintentional coincidence.