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5 Things People Get WRONG about HIV

As an HIV doctor, here’s some things that people get wrong about HIV.

“You can get HIV from sharing glasses or other household items.”

So, it’s false. You cannot get HIV from everyday items or casual contact. You can’t get it by sharing utensils, you can’t get it from sharing a glass. All of that is false. “If your partner has HIV, you will definitely get HIV.” Remember, U=U. Undetectable is equal to untransmittable. So, if you have a partner who is living with HIV and who is taking their medicines and their viral loadis undetectable, they can’t pass HIV. Let me say that again. People whose viral load is undetectable cannot transmit to their sexual partners.

“There are herbal treatments that can cure HIV.”

So, you may see ads that say that you can take medicines that will cure HIV. That is false. Do not believe the hype. The best way to control your HIV is by taking antiretroviral medications. Those are medicines prescribed by a medical provider. Anything else that you’re hearing is false.

“HIV is only a worry if you have a lot of sexual partners. ”

It’s not quantity, it’s just if there is an exposure. If you have sex with someone who has HIV who may not know their status, you can get HIV from just one encounter. It’s not about multiple partners, it’s about a plan for any partner.

“If I had HIV, I would know it.”

HIV can be asymptomatic for a very long time. You don’t wanna wait for symptoms, because that means that HIV potentially has really progressed,
which means that you may have later stage infection. Testing is the way to find out if you have HIV. And the earlier you know, the better it is for your health.

This video is a joint production of KFF’s GREATER THAN HIV and CDC’s LET’S STOP HIV TOGETHER. This information is shared for educational purposes and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at the time of filming.

Always consult a healthcare provider for any personal health decisions. The marks “CDC” and “Let’s Stop HIV Together” are owned by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services and are used with permission. Use of these logos is not an endorsement by HHS or CDC of any particular product, service, or enterprise.