8 Myths about HIV
× Kissing, hugging or shaking hands with a HIV-positive individual will give me the virus
× You can get HIV by drinking from a fountain
× You can get HIV from touching a doorknobs or toilet seats that a HIV-positive individual has used
× Sharing cutlery or cooking utensils with a HIV-positive individual will transmit the virus
× You can get HIV by being around people who are HIV-positive
✓ Medical evidence suggests that the HIV virus cannot be spread through common contact such as saliva, touch, tears and sweat. It can only be spread through sexual activity, sharing needles or using syringes that are NOT disposable. However, deep, open-mouth kissing with a HIV-positive individual that has mouth sores or bleeding gums can transmit the virus to the partner. The bodily fluids that transmit the disease include, blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluid, vaginal fluid and breast milk. These fluids must come into contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue, or be injected directly into the bloodstream by an injection for the transmission to occur, according to aids.gov.
× You can’t get HIV from oral sex
✓ Although oral sex has lower levels of risk compared to other forms of sex, you can still get HIV from it. This occurs if any semen or vaginal fluid comes into contact with the partner’s mouth.
× You can get HIV from mosquitoes
✓ Since HIV is spread through blood, people are likely fear mosquito bites or bites from any other insect. However, several studies have shown that insects don’t inject the blood of one person when they bite another individual. Additionally, the HIV virus lives for a short while in an insect.
× HIV medication (anti-retroviral drugs) will prevent the HIV virus from spreading
✓ Although medication for HIV has advanced significantly for the past few years, they cannot guarantee it from spreading. Good treatments can reduce the amount of virus in the blood, to the extent of it not showing up on blood tests. However, the virus is essentially still hiding in the body so practice safe sex at all times if you are HIV-positive.
Contraction of the HIV virus can be a daunting subject for many individuals and may induce anxiety. However, it is important to be informed about the ways in which the virus can be transmitted.