KARACHI: HIV and AIDS have a certain degree of shame and negative hype attached to it in Pakistan, as in the rest of the world. On Sunday evening, around 30 people from Karachi’s transgender and gay community gathered at Café Commune to talk about the many fears and misconceptions associated with the ailment.
Here are some common misconceptions they highlighted:
1. HIV means death
HIV is treatable and a person can live a normal life, like anyone else. Medical treatment should be sought as soon as HIV is diagnosed and usually, pills are prescribed by doctors.
2. HIV is transmittable through touching
HIV mode of transmission is through body fluids: blood and semen. Hugging, touching or sharing space or even utensils with HIV positive person does not put you on risk
3. HIV takes years to diagnose
This varies case to case. Depending on an individual’s immune system, for some people it can take only a few months to surface while for others it can take five years or more.
4. There are visible signs of HIV
One could be HIV positive for years without knowing. The only way to know is to get tested. But there are definitely symptoms to look out for such as swelling of lymph nodes and recurring fever
5. HIV medication is enough
The risk of HIV transmission doesn’t diminish even when proper medication is being taken. It is better to use protection when engaging in any sexual activity.