Myths and Facts About HIV

Doctors first discovered the HIV-1 virus in humans in 1959 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since those early cases. Today, Dr. Mark Tanner and our compassionate staff at Family Healthcare of Atlanta PC help patients prevent and treat HIV.

The truth behind HIV

In 1983, researchers discovered HIV caused AIDS. One of the largest pandemics in the world, the HIV virus infiltrates healthy immune cells, making you more vulnerable to infections and diseases. If left untreated, HIV can ultimately lead to AIDS.

The 4-H Club

Early on, many falsely believed only certain groups of people acquired HIV. They referred to them as the 4-H Club, which included: 

Researchers eventually realized females could also contract the virus. Dr. Tanner treats both men and women who come in contact with this disease or want to avoid contracting it in the first place.

Four Myths about HIV

Dr. Tanner and his staff stress the importance of learning the facts about HIV and AIDS. Some of the myths surrounding this virus include:

HIV always leads to AIDS

While the HIV virus causes AIDS, it doesn’t always progress that far. During its advanced stages, HIV can result in AIDS. Dr. Tanner offers antiretroviral therapy (ART), a cocktail of three potent virus-fighting drugs, to extensively slow the progression of the virus and even prevent AIDS. 

You can rid yourself of HIV forever

The HIV virus always remains in your cells, similar to herpes. We provide medication to suppress the virus so it doesn’t transform into AIDS. 

It’s okay to begin ART medication anytime after acquiring HIV

It’s crucial to start taking your medication as soon as you suspect HIV to limit its spread within your body and to other people. ART strengthens your immune system and lowers your viral load most effectively when begun within 72 hours.

People with HIV have a short lifespan

On the contrary, many who contract HIV lead long, healthy lives. Dr. Tanner stresses all his patients maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking. If you have HIV, you must continue to take your medication for the rest of your life to stop this disease from spreading and potentially evolving into full-blown AIDS.

Prevent HIV in the first place

Even with medication, people with HIV can spread the virus to others. Dr. Tanner recommends patients with HIV follow certain protocols, such as:

  1. Use condoms during sex
  2. Limit sexual partners
  3. Never share needles

Dr. Tanner also treats those who suspect they’ve been exposed to the virus via a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) pill taken daily to block HIV. It can reduce your chances of catching HIV by as much as 99%. 

Let us help you separate fact from fiction

If you suspect you’ve contracted HIV or want to learn how to prevent it in the first place, call our office at 404-355-2000 or book an appointment online with Dr. Tanner and our caring team at Family Healthcare of Atlanta PC in Atlanta, Georgia today.

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