The following information is true:

  • You will not be able to tell if you or the people around you are HIV positive. The only way to know one's HIV status is to take a HIV test.
  • People cannot know your HIV status without your consent, and HIV testing is completely voluntary and if requested, anonymous.
  • One test is not enough for the rest of your life; even after you have tested negative, a test is recommended every six months if you regularly participate in risky behaviors.
  • And being negative now does not mean you are going to stay negative for the rest of your life; be sure to always practice safer sex. A HIV test is very inexpensive, and may be found for free in certain social hygiene clinics.
  • HIV is not transmitted through kissing, casual contacts or handshakes, sharing living space, eating or drinking with an infected person, mosquitoes or bedbugs.
  • You can get HIV from oral sex, although it is very rare. Always use a latex barrier for protection.
  • Condoms, while not perfect, are reliably 85% effective in preventing HIV transmission.
  • Taking an antibiotic before unprotected sex does not prevent the spread of HIV.
  • HIV is can be spread to all people, including heterosexuals and non-drug users, not just minorities or at-risk groups.
  • You are still infectious once on ARVS. While it reduces the amount of HIV in your bloodstream, a small amount is still present and infectious, and safe sex should be practiced at all times.
  • It is important to note that while HIV cannot survive outside of the body for an extended period of time, it is NOT killed upon contact with the air and can remain infectious for several hours in the right conditions.
  • There is no cure for HIV or AIDS, but being HIV positive does not mean your life is over!
  • People with HIV may die of old age.
  • You can catch HIV multiple times. Many different strains of HIV exist - which is why ARV treatment sometimes ceases to work after a time. Catching different strains of HIV can put more stress on your immune system and hasten the development of AIDS. Even if both you and your partner have HIV, always practice safer sex to protect yourself from different strains of HIV.