Popular Health Misconceptions
Many Filipinos have certain misconceptions about health, health practices and certain diseases. According to medical authorities, some of these misconceptions, especially on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus /Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), are risky with the rise in adolescent sexual practices. A study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation in 2002 has found out that 95% of young adults have heard of HIV/AIDS but 73% believe there is no chance of them getting the disease, and 12.5% would think there is a cure to it.
Getting an HIV. Some Filipinos think that if one gets HIV, he is sure to die of AIDS. Contrary to this misconception, an AIDS-afflicted person can live a full life and be a productive member of society if he does away with his unhealthy lifestyle and works with specialists as soon as he finds out about the disease. Other people also believe that (a) one can get HIV by kissing someone with HIV, (b) people with HIV should be avoided, and (c) only gay men, promiscuous women or with two or more sexual partners, and druggies can get HIV. Healthcare authorities attempt to correct these misconceptions by saying that (a) one cannot get HIV by kissing a person with HIV or being kissed in parts of the body, (b) a person with HIV should not be avoided or discriminated against because the disease is not contagious, and (c) HIV knows no age, educational background, social standing or gender of a person.
Measles vaccination, heart health. Some parents have also the wrong belief that measles vaccination for children nine months old to eight years old does not need to be administered to children who have been vaccinated previously. The Department of Health attests to the need for children to be given vaccination twice for their lifelong immunity against measles. On heart matters, some Filipinos are led to believe that since heart disease is hereditary, there is nothing that can be done to avoid it. The truth, according to heart specialists, is that one can take steps to lower his risk of developing a heart disease or keep such disease under control. Some people also believe that being overweight and obese is good because they are an evidence that that they are in good economic status. Doctors say that being obese and overweight is not good for the heart and can increase the chance of developing many health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high blood cholesterol.
Family planning, safe sex. Many Filipinos believe that the natural methods for family planning are just as reliable as the modern ones. This is not true, say health experts, because the natural methods such as withdrawal, rhythm, basal body temperature, or the so-called cervical mucus, have been found to have low effectiveness rates. They also attempt to correct a misconception that many women get pregnant or sexually transmitted disease (STD) only when they have frequent sex. They say that a woman can get pregnant by having unprotected sex only once, and that the frequency of a sexual activity does not protect any one from getting the STD.
Are you guilty of any of these? Well, it is not too late and be educated. Please share some and help other readers be informed.