8 HIV Treatment Myths

HIV treatment is vital to the health of individuals with HIV. HIV treatments work to keep the immune system healthy and work to fight off the virus, so that it can be well controlled enough so that it does not develop into AIDS. With these medications many individuals suffering from HIV can live long, happy lives in relative health and with medications slowly improving, a cure is well on the way. But with so many myths regarding HIV treatment, many individuals suffering from HIV feel as though they are helpless. To clear up some of these misconceptions, here are 8 HIV treatment myths that everyone should be aware of. While some of these you may have heard, and others you may not have, these are the most important that need to be cleared up right away.

8 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
MYTH: HIV drugs can cure HIV.

Unfortunately, this is not true. While there is not yet a cure for HIV, the future holds a lot of promise. Currently, HIV drugs work well in controlling HIV and they are continuously improving as more medications are developed. The important thing to take away from this, is that while HIV is not yet cured, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy and live a long, fulfiling life.

MYTH: HIV drugs can only keep you alive for a few years.

This is completely false. HIV drugs can help prevent AIDS and keep you alive for a long time. Magic Johnson, former NBA player has had HIV for nearly 25 years and has lived a long, healthy lifestyle that has allowed him to keep surviving. There's no reason with a healthy diet and HIV medication, that others cannot do the same.

MYTH: You don't need to seek treatment until you show symptoms.

While some may show symptoms as early as within the first 2 weeks of infection, this is not always the case. Some may not show signs of HIV until being infected with it for years. If you are concerned about HIV or think you may have it, talk to your doctor and ask to be tested.

MYTH: I can't get HIV treatment unless I have insurance.

Government programs, nonprofit organizations and pharmaceutical companies all offer ways to cover the cost of medications for people with HIV. Additionally, with the affordable care act, many Americans  have access to affordable insurance that will help them cover these costs as well.

MYTH: Treatments can prevent other HIV infections.

Unfortunately this one is false. Individuals taking HIV medications may still be vulnerable to other HIV infections, should their sexual partner have another strain of the virus. Therefore, its important that even if you and your partner has HIV and are taking medications, that you can still infect each other.

MYTH: HIV drugs have too many side effects.

While it may be true that HIV drug treatments have their fair share of side effects, these are typically minor, causing symptoms such as nausea, fatigue and diarrhea. Some patients may also experience rash and difficulty sleeping. Regardless of these symptoms, most patients only experience these symptoms at first, as they usually go away over time, once the body has gotten used to the medication. You can talk to your doctor about these concerns. 

MYTH: You cannot transmit HIV if you are seeking treatment.

This is an important myth to dispel right away. Just because you are taking HIV drugs, does not mean that you cannot transmit HIV to another. Because the drugs do not eliminate the virus, you will still need to wear protection to prevent spreading the disease to your sexual partner.

MYTH: If one medication doesn't work none of them will.

There are currently 25 antiretroviral medications available with good reason. One drug may not be appropriate for every person. If a patient does not respond to one of them, does not mean they will respond to none of them. Should a patient not respond, a doctor may prescribe one of the other 25+ medications in 6 major types to help fight HIV.