Common Fears/Myths about HIV Transmission
1. KISSING= The act of kissing on its own carries no risk for HIV. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a peck on the cheek or deep tongue-on-tongue action. There is not enough of the HIV virus in a infected person’s saliva to pass on the virus, so kiss away.
2. CASUAL CONTACT= Shaking hands, hugging or touching someone is considered “casual contact” and absolutely does not put you at risk for contracting HIV. It doesn’t matter if the body part is peeling, sweaty or dirty. So HUG someone!!!
3. SHARING A DRINKING GLASS= Straight forward: Saliva cannot transmit the virus. The only bodily fluids are: blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk.
4. EATING AT RESTURANTS= HIV doesn’t live long enough outside of the body for any restaurant scenario to carry a risk. So don’t panic about the silverware, plates or food being contaminated. Enjoy your dinner!
5. PUBLIC RESTROOMS= Nasty seats or “up-splashing” does not put you at risk. Again HIV survive long enough outside of the body to harm you so be worried about other ‘nasty’ things in there EXCEPT for HIV.
6. MOSQUITO BITES= What if a mosquito bites an HIV-positive person and then feasts on you? NO, NO & NO you won’t get infected. Now it can transmit malaria or some other diseases but not HIV. So smack away at those pesky little creatures without HIV worries….
7. CHEWING GUM= If you touch an old piece of gum or some transferred from a HIV+ person’s mouth to yours, gum does not represent an HIV risk. HIV is not transmitted through saliva; this is why you can also share food, drinks or utensils with HIV+ people and not worry about becoming infected. We don’t recommend you swapping used gum though because its gross and not healthy!!!
8. COUGHING OR SNEEZING= HIV is not an airborne disease and cannot be transmitted even if someone with HIV coughs or sneezes in your face or your food.
9. SWIMMING IN A POOL= Remember the panic in the 1980’s with HIV regarding this? People are still worried about blood or urine in a pool. HIV is not transmitted through water… If you’re standing in it, bathing or drinking it. This covers hot tubs, showers and sinks. So put on the SPF and enjoy yourself.
There actually are ‘some’ of the questions groups still get so you can see EDUCATION is so important to inform and correct mis-information out there in the public regarding HIV Transmission… Just be careful folks, just because you don’t get HIV doesn’t mean you couldn’t get some other infection, STI/STD if your not careful.