Debunking Myths About HIV & AIDs

Myths

Women can’t give men HIV.

It’s much harder for men to get HIV from women, but it does happen. HIV does not live long outside the body. A man’s penis is only exposed to HIV for the time that it is in a vagina or rectum. Men also may have fewer areas on the penis where the virus can enter the body. HIV can enter at the opening of the tip and through cuts or sores on the shaft, but if a partner has an untreated sexually transmitted infection (STI) like syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia, the risk is higher. These infections can bring more CD4 cells to the area of infection, or cause breaks in the skin, both increasing the risk of passing HIV.

Meanwhile, women have a higher risk of getting HIV from men, because HIV is in the man’s semen, which can stay in the woman’s vagina for days, her exposure time is longer after sex. Also, the vagina provides a much larger area than the penis does through which HIV can enter the woman’s body.

People can become infected with HIV/AIDS from mosquitoes.

Because HIV is spread through blood contact, people have worried that biting or bloodsucking insects might spread HIV, this is (NOT TRUE). The truth is when an insects bites, they do not inject the blood of the person or animal they have last bitten. Also, HIV lives for only a short time inside an insect. Several studies have been done in areas with lots of mosquitoes and cases of HIV, and there is no evidence to support this myth.