That's the estimated number of people living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) in India, as per a report by the National AIDS Control Organisation. Overall, the HIV epidemic has seen a declining trend in the country with nearly 41,000 deaths related to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) in 2021.
The most severe stage of HIV infection leads to AIDS. In simple words, if an individual with the virus is left untreated, then it can lead to AIDS.
While a lot of awareness has been created around the disease over the years, there are still a lot of myths. This World AIDS Day, we spoke to Dr Anita Mathew, Infectious Disease Specialist from Fortis Hospital in Mumbai about some of these common questions.
DOES SWEAT OR TEARS TRANSMIT HIV/AIDS?
Several people worry about getting infected with HIV if they come in contact with an infected person's sweat or tears. However, there is nothing to worry about here.
According to Dr Mathew, "This is an absolute myth. You cannot transmit HIV through your tears or sweat."
A study done in 2019 also concluded that HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat. It also adds that HIV is transmitted through blood or other body fluids and not sweat.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), neither can HIV survive long outside the human body nor can it reproduce outside a human host so it cannot get transmitted through tears or sweat, among other things.
CAN A MOSQUITO BITE TRANSMIT HIV AIDS?
Studies have shown that although mosquitoes are able to carry and transmit diseases like yellow fever, dengue, and Japanese encephalitis, there is no evidence that mosquitoes carry or transmit HIV.
"The mosquito-to human transmission of HIV is neither proved, nor known. There is not truth to it."Dr Anita Mathew, Infectious Disease Specialist
HIV is unable to replicate inside the mosquito's gut and gets broken down, unlike the other mosquito borne diseases.
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