HIV Facts and Myths

Myths

 

'You only have to drink a mouthful of infected saliva get infected yourself'

This is a typical myth. HIV can be found in saliva, but in quantities that are too small to infect someone. If you drink a mouthful of saliva from an HIV positive person, you won't become infected! There is only one recorded case of HIV transmission via kissing - out of all the many millions of kisses. And in this case, both partners had extremely badly bleeding gums.

'Sex with a virgin can cure HIV'

This myth is common in some parts of Africa and it is totally untrue. The myth has resulted in a lot of rapes of young girls and children by HIV+ men who often infect their victims. Rape won't cure anything. It is a serious crime all around the world.

'It can only happen to gay men/ black people/ young people,...'

This is false. The most people who became infected with HIV wouldn't have thought that it could happen to them - and were wrong.

'HIV can pass through latex' 

Some people have been spreading rumors that the virus is small enough to pass through tiny 'holes' in the latex used to make condoms. This is untrue. Latex blocks HIV as well as sperm, condoms prevent HIV infections as well as pregnancies.

 

Facts

 

People with HIV look like anybody else.

 

People who have another sexually transmitted disease (STD) such as syphilis, genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea or bacterial vaginosis are at greater risk for getting HIV during sex with infected partners.

 

If a woman with HIV is pregnant, her newborn baby can catch the virus from her before birth, during the birthing process or from breastfeeding.

 

If doctors know a mom-to-be has HIV, they can usually prevent the spread of the virus from mother to baby. So all pregnant women should be tested for HIV so that they can - if necessary - instantly begin treatment.