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Myth or Reality? Know The Facts About HIV and AIDS

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HIV and AIDS facts and myths Elenaphotos21/PhotoSpin

The human immunodeficiency virus known as HIV causes AIDS. One can have HIV for years without developing AIDS.

HIV and AIDS are often feared. But knowing the myths and realities about HIV and AIDS can stop that fear.

One can get HIV from doing any of these activities with an HIV-infected person:

- Sharing exercise equipment

- Kissing, hugging, holding hands

- Breathing air

- Sharing eating utensils

- Touching a toilet seat or doorknob handle after them

You cannot catch HIV from any of the activities listed above.
HIV can only be transmitted through an exchange of some body fluids (semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, blood or pre-ejaculatory fluids) with an HIV-positive person. But body fluids such as saliva, sweat and tears cannot transmit HIV.

HIV also cannot be transmitted through mosquitoes.

Getting a tattoo or body piercing does not cause HIV.

It is possible to get HIV from tattoo and piercing tools
that aren’t sterilized properly between clients.

HIV infected women who get pregnant will spread the disease to their unborn baby.

HIV-infected women who seek treatment early in their pregnancy have about a 2 percent chance of having a baby with HIV.
WomensHealth.gov said that without treatment, the risk is about 25 percent. HIV infected women should not breastfeed as that can pass the virus.

There is no need to use a condom if both partners already have HIV.

There are different strains of HIV. HIV-infected partners may exchange different types or strains of HIV.
This can lead to re-infection, which will make the treatment of HIV infection more difficult. The new HIV strain may become more resistant to the current treatment or cause the current treatment to be ineffective.

If I'm receiving treatment, I can't spread the HIV virus.

HIV treatments can reduce the amount of virus in blood to a level so low that it doesn't show up in blood tests.
According to research, however, the virus is still "hiding" in other areas of the body, wrote Women Fitness. So yes. During treatment, you could spread the HIV virus.

HIV/AIDS cannot be transmitted during oral sex.

Transmission of HIV occurs during an exchange of body fluids (such as semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, blood or pre-ejaculatory fluids).
So if there are open wounds in the mouth or gums, or inflamed infections in the throat or mouth, HIV transmission is possible during oral sex.

HIV or AIDS can be cured.

Currently there is no cure for HIV or AIDS
and no vaccines to prevent HIV infection.


"AIDS Myths and Misunderstandings." Introduction. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013.

"American Medical Student Association." Global AIDS: Myths and Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013.

"Division of Infectious Diseases: HIV Clinical Trials Unit." Division of Infectious Diseases: HIV Clinical Trials Unit. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013.

"Fitness Top Ten." Top 10 Myths about HIV....and the reality. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013.

"HIV/AIDS - Myth versus Reality - HIV: Health and Medical Information About HIV and AIDS on MedicineNet.com." MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013.

"Health Promotion Board." 10 Myths about HIV and AIDS. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013.

"Myths about HIV/AIDS." womenshealth.gov. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013.

"Myths and Misconceptions." Men's Sexual Health: Sexual Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013.

"The Top 10 HIV and AIDS Myths and Misconceptions." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 31 Dec. 2013.

Reviewed January 2, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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