How HIV Isn’t Spread/Common Misconceptions

Learn the five most common stereotypes about how HIV spreads.

When you test positive for HIV, it may feel like anything you touch or do can spread HIV. This is FALSE; you can still do your everyday tasks without having to worry. With so many HIV resources and medical knowledge, we now have a better understanding of how HIV spreads

According to the CDC, HIV does not survive long outside the human body on surfaces, and it can’t reproduce outside of a human host. With that in mind, the following are ways that HIV CAN’T be transmitted:

1. Mosquitoes, ticks or other insects

Insects can’t transmit HIV to people. Despite the misconception that saliva or blood-sucking mosquitoes carry the disease, insects don’t inject blood from person to person, and therefore can’t spread HIV.

2. Saliva, tears or sweat

HIV can’t spread through saliva, which means you won’t get infected from sharing a drink with another person or kissing. There are no reported cases of anyone becoming infected through tears or sweat. 

3. Hugging, shaking hands, sharing toilets, sharing dishes, or closed-mouth kissing

Since HIV is not spread outside a human host, you can’t become infected through common objects or activities such as sharing toilets, dishes, or hugging and shaking hands. 

4. Sexual activity that doesn’t involve the exchange of bodily fluids

Sexual activity, such as touching, that doesn’t involve exchanging bodily fluids (e.g., semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal and vaginal fluids) can’t spread HIV. 

5. Through the air

Since HIV does not survive outside the human body, the disease can’t be spread through the air. Simply being around someone who is infected will not infect you.  

Stop the spread of misconceptions. HIV isn’t a death sentence; you’re free to live a healthy and happy lifestyle without the fear of spreading the disease through everyday activities. 

Connect with HIV testing, treatment or support group services.

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