I remember when I was a kid, just about. It seemed like every third advert was about AIDS. AIDS was everywhere. My girlfriend had a virus at the age of six, and after watching TV and learning that ‘people with the virus would be dead in three years’, proceeded to tell her Mum that she would be dead by the age of nine.
AIDS was a killer. If you didn’t wear a condom and caught HIV, you were screwed, end of.
Today, AIDS awareness isn’t as widespread as it once was. And with that, the amazing medical breakthroughs which have occurred over the last 30 years have seemingly gone unnoticed.
An Troubling Survey
A survey of 5000 people from the National AIDS Trust (NAT) has shown that the public seem to be in the dark about the reality of living with HIV.
The survey’s findings, released on the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the HIV virus found that 20% of the public wrongly believed that people with HIV can only expect to live for 10 years after catching the virus, even if they are on treatment and not diagnosed late.
Only 16% of people guessed correctly that there was a normal life expectancy for those who were diagnosed quickly and had treatment.
There were also some troublesome figures when it came to how people with HIV can function in society.
Despite the only job that people with HIV are not allowed to do is working in the Armed Services (due to the extensive medication needed) 36% of people wrongly thought that being HIV positive prevented someone from working as a nursery school teacher, a chef or with people with mental health problems.
Did you know that you can even even be a doctor, surgeon or a dentist as long as the level of HIV in your system is ‘undetectable’?
26% of people thought that it was illegal not to tell your GP, your tattooist, your dentist, your employer, and someone you are marrying if you are HIV positive.
Only 5% of people knew that it was virtually impossible to transfer your HIV to someone else during unprotected sex if your treatment was going well. I have to admit, I didn’t know that either.
Here is the big point though. If you don’t get tested, then you will never find out you are HIV positive. If you never find out, you can’t get treated, and it won’t end well for you.
Also, the fact that HIV may not be the death sentence it once was isn’t an excuse to not use contraception. There are still so many things that you can catch which are really unpleasant. So don’t use it as an excuse to ask a London escort for bareback, or any other woman or man you may meet in fact.
Things have moved on so much, but safety is always a good thing!