- You can get HIV through hugging and kissing
No, you can't. Blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluids as well as breast milk are the only means of HIV transmission. While spit does contain the virus, you would need bucket loads of spit to risk infection. And we sincerely hope that you never experience kissing someone with that much spit involved!
You should avoid kissing someone who has bleeding wounds in their mouths though, especially if you do, too. Because then there is a risk of infection.
- You can get HIV from sharing glasses and cutlery
Nope. Just as with kissing, this is impossible. Even in the unlikely case of encountering traces of blood on a fork you are using, you aren't at risk. The virus can't survive outside the body for long.
- Mosquitoes can give you HIV
Wrong. Mosquitoes can give you a bunch of nasty diseases, but not HIV. Because when an insect bites a person, it doesn't inject its own or a previously bitten person's blood into the next person it bites.
- You can't protect yourself from getting HIV
Yes, you can. Use condoms with all your partners, unless you are in a relationship with a faithful partner and you both get tested regularly. Or until you are in a relationship like that, you can decide not to have sex at all, to abstain. All this will help to keep you safe from HIV.
- There is no need to use condoms if you are both infected
Even if you are both infected, you should still use condoms whenever you have sex. Otherwise, you can get re-infected or get infected with a different type of the virus. And that makes treatment more difficult and can reduce your life expectancy.
- You get HIV from naughty behavior
No. People have had multiple sex partners, bought sex from sex workers and used drugs for a long time before the first HIV/AIDS cases were known.
Being HIV-positive doesn't mean that you have done something bad. You can also get infected through a blood transfusion, at birth or by having sex with a partner who is HIV-positive.
- If you’re HIV positive, you can't have children
Thanks to all the research and new developments within the HIV/AIDS field, it is now very possible for HIV-positive mothers and fathers to have healthy babies. It takes some careful planning and help from your healthcare provider. But if you follow the guidelines closely, your chances of having an HIV-negative baby are very high.
- You can tell if somebody is HIV-positive
No, you can't. Most people with HIV look perfectly healthy. And only once someone has gotten to the AIDS stage (usually eight to 10 years after getting infected), some signs and symptoms can be visible. But thanks to the great medications available today, even then a person might still look and feel healthy for many more years.
- You can get rid of HIV by sleeping with certain people
Having unprotected sex with virgins, children, people with disabilities or large people will not cure you of HIV. So don't believe the myths, and don't even consider doing it!
In case you missed it, here's part 2 on the Sex Myth Buster on HIV/AIDS.
This article was first published on 25th April 2014.
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