Common Myths

myth1

I’m HIV-positive — my life is over.

In the early years of the disease epidemic, the death rate from AIDS was extremely high. But today, antiretroviral drugs allow HIV-positive people — and even those with AIDS — to live much longer, normal, and productive lives.

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myth2

You can’t get HIV from oral sex.

It’s true that oral sex is less risky than some other types of sex. But you can get HIV by having oral sex with either a man or a woman who is HIV-positive. Always use a latex barrier during oral sex.

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myth3

My partner and I are both HIV positive — there’s no reason for us to practice safer sex.

Practicing safer sex — wearing condoms or using dental dams — can protect you both from becoming exposed to other (potentially drug resistant) strains of HIV.

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myth4

I can get HIV by being around people who are HIV-positive.

The evidence shows that HIV is not spread through touch, tears, sweat, or saliva. You cannot catch HIV by:

• Breathing the same air as someone who is HIV-positive
• Touching a toilet seat or doorknob handle after an HIV-positive person
• Drinking from a water fountain
• Hugging, kissing, or shaking hands with someone who is HIV-positive
• Sharing eating utensils with an HIV-positive person
• Using exercise equipment at a gym

You can get it from infected blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or mother’s milk.

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