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.

Thriving with community

Thriving with community

by | Mar 17, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Tim’m West – Educator, community builder and lifelong HIV advocate “When I tested positive at 26, I didn’t imagine 50. So, turning 50 was a spiritual moment for me. I...

Breaking down barriers: HIV care for trans women

Breaking down barriers: HIV care for trans women

by | Mar 10, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

6 tips to finding a healthcare provider Often excluded or wrongly identified in HIV research, we want to set the stage for transgender women to break down barriers to...

Don’t be risky while getting frisky

Don’t be risky while getting frisky

by | Feb 9, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Five steps for safer sex while HIV+ If you’re HIV positive, you can still have safe sex – it just takes a few precautions. Reduce the risk of transmitting HIV and other...

Lady being diagnosed

Just diagnosed?

by | Feb 9, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Four tips for managing mental health after finding out you’re HIV positive Confusion, anger, depression, and shock are normal emotions to experience following a...


I’m HIV positive. Now what?

by | Dec 29, 2022 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

There's no one-size-fits-all regimen for HIV – know your options Recently diagnosed with HIV? Living with a positive status and interested in changing your treatment...

Paired Hands

Starting a family with HIV

by | Dec 15, 2022 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Can I have a child If I am HIV positive? Ready to start a family? Whether it is you or your partner with HIV, know there are ways to have a safe pregnancy. It just...

World AIDS Day

Make a difference this World AIDS Day

by | Dec 1, 2022 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Overcoming inequalities and ending stigmas together For the last 34 years, each December 1, people worldwide unite to honor those who lost their lives to AIDS-related...


Can I hook up with HIV?

by | Oct 31, 2022 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

How to enjoy casual sex while protecting your partner Living with HIV doesn’t have to end your sex life, and you don’t have to wait for an undetectable status or to be...

HIV Ribbon

HIV testing: What should I know?

by | Oct 28, 2022 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Learn about the three types of HIV tests, their accuracy and how to understand results Before World AIDS Day, Thursday, December 1, learn about HIV testing, its...