What you don’t know won’t kill you, right? Wrong. There are a bunch of HIV myths that people continue to believe just because it’s easier than accepting the truth. So right here, right now, we want to end the most talked about HIV myths of the decade…
1. HIV-Positive Women Can’t Have Healthy Babies
For decades, women living with HIV have been giving birth to HIV-negative babies. Yes, there was a time when mother-to-child transmission was high, but in the U.S. these rates are all but eliminated. Being linked to care, not breastfeeding, and being put on AIDS meds during a woman’s pregnancy greatly reduces the chances of a baby developing HIV.
2. You Can Get HIV from Spitting, Scratching and Kissing
Nope. Blood, semen, vaginal and rectal secretions and breast milk are the only modes of HIV transmission. HIV can only be transmitted when one of these fluids from someone with HIV enter a negative person’s body through mucous membranes, cuts, open sores or tears in the skin.
3. Magic Johnson Never Really Had HIV
Since his 1991 disclosure, there has been this persistent belief that he either never had HIV or has been cured. Both are simply untrue. Yes, he has been living well with the disease for over 20 years, but he credits that to his antiretrovirals and access to quality health care.
4. People in Monogamous Relationships Don’t Get HIV
HIV is not a disease for the “promiscuous.” So being in a monogamous relationship or thinking your relationship is monogamous doesn’t protect you either (especially if neither one of you has been tested, you are unaware of your status, and/or one of you is stepping out). People in monogamous relationships actually have an increased HIV risk, because they are more likely to ditch condoms.
5. You Can Tell If Someone Has HIV
What does HIV look like? You really don’t know. Someone who is healthy, fit and muscular or curvy and pretty can be HIV-positive, too. The best way to protect yourself from the virus isn’t by superficial bias, but by condoms and knowing your status.