More myths and misconceptions

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Myths vs. Facts


Myth – Straight people do not get HIV

Most people living with HIV worldwide are heterosexual. Men transmit HIV to women and women transmit it to men. Risk is not about whether you identify as either straight or LGBTIQ+


Myth – HIV is a death sentence

While a positive HIV diagnosis is not to be taken lightly, many people who have HIV can live long and healthy lives thanks to improved drug treatments.


Myth – You can get HIV from being near or touching someone

The only way you can be infected is through bodily fluids which are infected with HIV entering your body.


Myth – If a couple has HIV, they do not need to protect themselves

Different strains of HIV exist. Therefore, if a person and their partner have two different strains of HIV they can transmit these to each other and having more than one strain of HIV can make treating it more challenging.


Myth – If I’m receiving treatment, I can’t spread the HIV virus

When HIV treatments work well, they can reduce the amount of virus in your blood to a level so low that it doesn’t show up in blood tests, however, the virus is still ‘hiding’ in other areas of your body.


Myth – I can’t get HIV from oral sex

It’s true that oral sex is less risky than some other types of sex, however you can still get HIV by having oral sex with either a man or a woman who is HIV positive.


MYTH – HIV only affects gay people

While in Australia the majority of those living with HIV are men who have sex with men (MSM), globally this is not the case. Of the 37 million people living with HIV, approximately 47% of them are women.


MYTH – You can tell if someone has HIV

HIV infection is commonly asymptomatic early on following infection and many people will continue to be asymptomatic until many years after they were infected.


MYTH – If I have sex with someone with HIV they are guaranteed to get it

Depending on the circumstances, the risk of HIV transmission on any given sex act varies from approximately 1 in 114 to nearly zero risk.