Myths about HIV

HIV: The Myths and The Facts

There are lots of myths, rumours and wrong info around about HIV.  This article aims to cut though these myths and come up with clear facts!!!

Myth: You can get HIV from kissing, using the same cups, plates, knives, forks etc. as someone with HIV.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE.

Even though there is a tiny bit of HIV in saliva/spit there is not enough to pass on to someone else.


Myth: You can get HIV from a toilet seat.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE

HIV doesn’t survive on surfaces like toilet seats.


Myth: It’s only the needle/spike that passes on HIV.  If you don’t share needles/spikes then you can’t get HIV.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE.

HIV can be passed on from sharing any part of the works…needle, syringe, spoon, filter, water etc.  Another interesting fact is that even though HIV can die within seconds of coming in contact with the air, it can live for days/weeks within the barrel of a syringe.


Myth: If you have HIV that means you have AIDS.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE

HIV and AIDS are not the same thing.  HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system.  AIDS is a term used by doctors to describe the damage done to the immune system by HIV.    Many people with HIV these days will never get AIDS because the treatment keeps their immune system healthy and the viral load so low.


Myth: You would definitely feel sick if you had HIV.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE

Some people get a short flu like illness when they first get HIV but most people don’t feel sick at all.  It can take many years for some people with HIV to feel sick but their immune system is becoming weaker.  Getting on treatment early can keep your immune system strong and stop you getting sick.


Myth: Sharing needles and works with people you know and trust is safe.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE.

Just because you know and trust someone doesn’t mean you can’t become infected with HIV.  They may not even know they have HIV themselves.


Myth: I have HIV and so does my partner so it’s ok for us to share needles/works.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE

There are different strains of HIV so you could infect your partner or be infected with a different stain yourself.  This could affect your treatment options.  Also for other health reasons it’s recommended to only use your own works.


Myth: Only people who inject heroin get HIV.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE.

It is not the drug that causes HIV. It doesn’t matter if you are injecting heroin, crack, steroids, tanning products, snow blow, hormones …..etc.  It’s the sharing of needles and works that puts you at risk of getting HIV.


Myth: HIV can be cured.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE.

There is no cure for HIV.  However there is really great treatment that can allow people with HIV to live long and healthy lives


Myth: If you have HIV you can’t or shouldn’t get pregnant.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE

Many women with HIV get pregnant, have healthy pregnancies and deliver healthy HIV negative babies.  You will be looked after by a specialist team who will put a plan in place for you.  The treatment available now means that the chance of you passing HIV on to your baby is less than 1%.  However if you have HIV it is recommended that you don’t breastfeed.


Myth: Having HIV means you can only have sex with other people who have HIV.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE

Loads of people with HIV have healthy sex lives and relationships with HIV negative people. That’s what condoms are for!!  Also if you are on treatment for HIV and are undetectable for at least six months you can’t pass HIV on to any sexual partners.


Myth: If I have HIV and I’m on treatment I can’t pass HIV through sharing works.

Fact: This is UNCERTAIN.

The evidence is clear that if you have HIV and are undetectable for at least 6 months you cannot pass on HIV through sex.  There hasn’t been enough research carried out in terms of being undetectable and sharing needles and works.


Myth: All herbal remedies or alternative therapies are safe to take with HIV treatment.

Fact: This is NOT TRUE.

Some herbal remedies don’t interact well with HIV treatment.  Check with your doctor/clinic to see what is safe to use.