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HIV Myths - True or False?


There are lots of myths floating around about HIV, some that are true, some that used to be true but are no longer true, and some that are frankly rather bizarre. Make sure you know your facts, with these myths and the truth behind them.

Life expectancy for someone living with HIV is 70+

TRUE

Thanks to constantly-improving treatment available in the UK, HIV Aware say that someone diagnosed with HIV today at 35 (the average age of diagnosis in the UK) life expectancy is over 72. The important thing is to get diagnosed as early as possible. Visit www.20mintesting.co.uk for our free, confidential HIV drop in session times/dates.


You can get HIV from a mosquito bite

FALSE

Even though mosquitoes steal a little bit of your blood when they bite you, they can’t share the HIV virus between two people. Remember though, they can still give you malaria, so don’t put that mozzy spray down just yet!


You can get HIV from oranges/bananas/some other random inanimate object that someone has ‘injected’ with the virus

FALSE

A genuine rumour that is circulating on Facebook at the moment “look out for blood spots on oranges and bananas, someone is injecting them with HIV”.

We can confirm that you can’t get HIV from an orange, banana or anything else which is ‘infected’. The virus can’t actually live outside the body for more than a couple of minutes, so even in the highly unlikely event that it was injected with HIV positive blood, you won’t get HIV from eating the fruit.


You can get HIV from oral sex

TRUE

HIV can be transmitted through blow jobs and going down on a girl. The chances of getting HIV from oral sex are lots lower than anal or vaginal sex, but it is still possible. Remember to always wear a condom or use a dental dam during oral sex to reduce the risk.


Only gay guys or African people get HIV

FALSE

Men who have sex with men and African heterosexuals are at a higher risk of getting HIV - 70% of HIV diagnoses in the UK are made up from these two groups. BUT that leaves 30% of diagnoses who are not in either of these two groups - this means about 30,000 people in the UK are living with HIV who aren’t gay/bisexual men or African.


You can’t have a baby if you have HIV

FALSE

If someone is HIV positive and decides to have a baby then there are options available and steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of HIV being transmitted to a child. In the UK today there is less than 1% chance of a mother transmitting the virus to her baby.


You can’t get a mortgage if you’re HIV positive

FALSE

Of course you can get a mortgage if you’re HIV positive! While this may have held some truth in the past, most mortgages these days are based on a repayment system which doesn’t require life insurance or any other form of insurance policy, so your HIV status shouldn’t affect their ability to lend to you.


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LGBT Stoke is a service provided by the Sexual Health Prevention Team from Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust