5 AIDS Facts You Don’t Know

by on January 18th, 2011
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If Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was a meme, it would be trending in the Philippines right now. But there are still many things about AIDS that everyone, including you, may not be aware of. For instance, who is more prone to AIDS, men or women? If you’re actually trying to guess the answer, it’s best for you to read about these 5 facts on AIDS – no more guessing.

Heterosexual women are more likely to get HIV than men. In general, men with HIV outnumber the women. But among heterosexuals, the females outnumber the males, according to DOH. One thing that partly explains this statistic: an infected man’s semen remains inside a woman even after intercourse, prolonging the exposure.
New HIV cases in the Philippines have almost doubled this year. The Department of Health (DOH) has announced that there are 196 new cases of HIV infection, which is more than 80 percent greater than last year’s new cases. It looks like the virus is getting around.
Filipinos are no longer as conservative as they used to be. “Filipinos are bolder and unafraid to engage in high-risk behavior,” said Dr. Eric Tayag, director of the National Epidemiology Center in the Philippines, at the 2010 Philippine HIV Summit.
Condom use is not necessarily linked to lower HIV prevalence. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), condoms reduce your chances of getting HIV by about 80 percent. But in the Philippines, buying condoms can be quite a hassle. The recent Reproductive Health Bill debacle has resurrected the vocal opposition against condoms in the Philippines. But does that explain the increase in new HIV cases? After all, a Harvard study found no connection between condom use and lower AIDS prevalence, saying that condom use is found to be even more rampant where HIV also is, in the same way that water filters are more common in areas with dirty water.
No blood test in the world can detect HIV during a specific period. In the Philippines, approximately one out of five units of blood tested positive for HIV last Feb. 2011, according to DOH. There is a window period where HIV infection cannot be detected; there is no blood test that can identify HIV throughout this period – and an infected person who donates blood during this time will transmit HIV undetected. This means you can still get HIV from blood transfusions, even if the HIV tests come are negative.

Now, you know better. Help stop the spread of AIDS by telling your friends and family about these 5 facts on AIDS. It’s time they stopped guessing.

Sources:
“HIV Testing Basics for Consumers”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“Newly Diagnosed HIV Cases in the Philippines”, Department of Health
Eric Tayag, “HIV in the Philippines: Our Inconvenient Truth”, Philippine National AIDS Council
Rosemarie Caasi, “Hontiveros, Tatad debate on RH Bill”, ABS-CBN News
S. Weller, K. Davis, “Condom effectiveness in reducing heterosexual HIV transmission (Cochrane Review)”, Cochrane Summaries
William Crawley, “The pope was right about condoms, says Harvard HIV expert”, BBC


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