Myths are extremely dubious and ambiguous things. They serve only to spread the misinformation and lead you to deviate from the facts. When it comes to women and HIV, myth can be a very dangerous thing. Here are nine myths about women and HIV and the truths we must be spreading.
MYTH: A woman can know if a man is HIV positive.
It is very unlikely that you will be able to tell if a man is HIV positive. It may take years for symptoms to actually show this, and even these symptoms may not immediately call attention to HIV.
Not having sex and having safe sex are the only ways to fight transmission.
MYTH: If a woman is HIV positive and has a baby, the baby will be HIV positive.
Well ... if you are aware of your HIV status, and in Brazil HIV testing is mandatory for pregnant women in early pregnancy, and there will be a chance less than two percent that your baby is born HIV positive.
In the United States, the risk rises about 25% without treatment. If you are pregnant you will be tested.
MYTH: Women can not transmit HIV to men.
It's much harder for men to get HIV but it's perfectly possible. [Translator's Note: I get HIV from a girl with whom I had six months of sexual intercourse that was not intense. It was intensivíssimo].
During intercourse, HIV can enter a man's body through the tip of his penis (the glans penis) or through any cuts, wounds or other openings, which can be caused even during a more intense sexual intercourse. The chance of transmission is even greater if the woman is diagnosed and carrying a high viral load and if a man is without a treatment, as one of several sexually transmitted infections.
MYTH: If a woman contracts HIV, all her friends and family will reject her.
It is possible that some family and friends may have difficulty handling this information. But worthwhile people who stay in your life will understand, even if it takes a while. Not sharing your status can be an incredible burden to carry. I only know that the people who love her will give their support, even if it means building a new circle of "family" and friends.
MYTH: If a woman contracts HIV, everyone will blame her.
Ignorance is one of the most dangerous opponents when it comes to HIV / AIDS. Some people may charge you and find you guilty of contracting HIV; and there will be others that will judge doubly if you have contracted HIV from your husband and, in a sublime gesture, forgive and care for him. But that is with them, and not with you. No one deserves to get HIV and no one deserves or seeks to become ill unless he is already mentally ill and this is more a case for psychiatry than for trials; Torquemada has been dead and burning in Hell for a long time. If someone accuses a woman of not protecting herself, he or she should rather consider how he or she would feel if the situation were reversed.
MYTH: A married woman or another monogamous relationship with a man is not at risk for HIV.
Presumed monogamy is not the same as monogamy. There are men who have sex with other people and at the same time a "monogamous" commitment, a relationship with a woman. This can put the woman on a dramatic increase in HIV risk because she is assuming that safer sex practices are not necessary.
MYTH: lesbians are not at risk for HIV
Lesbians and women who have sex with women can still get HIV as well as other sexually transmitted infections. The risk is less but transmission is possible. Thus safer sex practices still have to be observed.
MYTH: Older women and older men are not at risk for HIV.
There are many older women and older men who are sexually active and there are those who undoubtedly use injecting drugs. They may be less likely to use condoms because of a lack of knowledge or understanding, which may end up putting them at greater risk, so they risk similarly independent of the condition of injecting drug users ... The mere fact of drinking can affect judgment and lead to risky behavior.
MYTH: If a woman contracts HIV, she will never be able to be in a relationship or have sex again.
Being HIV positive can present additional challenges when it comes to relationships and sex. But it is by no means the end of all things romantic or intimate. The key is honesty, communicativeness, which holds true for any relationship. You will know that you have found the right person when you find the person who understands and accepts it with grace and companionship, including people of the same serostatus.
By: Jenny Block February 11th, 2015
Translated from original 9 Myths About Women and HIV by
Claudio de Souza Santos in July 24 2015