12 Common Myths About HIV and Facts Behind Them

Overcome the myths about HIV by identifying and defeating them with accurate information. At Rapid STD Testing, our doctors, nurses, and support staff love to educate patients about commonly held misconceptions regarding HIV, some of which have survived since the initial outbreak decades ago.

Because doctors and scientists knew so little about the novel human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) when it first emerged, people created many myths about the infection. As we learned more about the disease, many of the most popular HIV myths faded away. Find out why we must correct falsehoods about HIV when we encounter them.

Why We Need to Correct Misconceptions About HIV

Many people prefer to do nothing when they hear a myth about HIV. Creating an entire discussion around disease and updated scientific information may not seem fun. However, at Rapid STD Testing, we correct HIV misconceptions whenever we hear them because the truth influences attitudes and behavior.

Information About HIV Influences Attitudes

Allowing myths about HIV to go unchecked permits misinformed individuals to spread falsehoods about the disease. Depending on the nature of the disinformation, it could alter the listeners’ attitudes regarding HIV, HIV patients, and the relative seriousness of the virus.

HIV myths can mislead a person by persuading them to forego a rapid STD test. Scary myths about HIV may cause an at-risk individual to feel too afraid to get tested. Myths that undermine the gravity of HIV may influence an HIV-positive person to avoid testing, which may boost the spread of the disease.

Information About HIV Influences Sexual Behavior

People who fail to correct HIV misconceptions may not realize how the truth about the disease can save lives. Some individuals do not appreciate the life-altering ramifications of an HIV infection. As a result, they may indulge in risky sexual behavior that causes them to contract the disease.

HIV misconceptions may involve false information regarding who can get the disease, which contraceptives prevent it, and how it spreads. This type of misleading information regarding HIV may account for thousands of new infections every year. To combat HIV misbeliefs, review the most common myths below and the truth regarding each of them.

Myths and Misconceptions About HIV Transmission

Students, teachers, doctors, and nurses often encounter myths about the human immunodeficiency virus. The clinical and educational settings serve as open forums for the discussion of HIV, so the expression of HIV fallacies occurs more often. People often have a diverse array of questions, such as “Can you get HIV in 20 seconds” and “Can you get HIV from a mosquito?”

Below, we discuss some of the most common myths about HIV and set the record straight.

You Can Get HIV From Kissing

Can you get HIV from Kissing? Many young students believe that you can. In some cases, well-meaning parents may share this falsehood with their children in a misguided attempt to protect them. However, doctors have not recorded a single case of HIV transmission via kissing. If you have an HIV-positive friend or relative, you can kiss them without worry.

Straight People Will Not Get HIV

During the early days of the AIDS pandemic, people thought only gay people could contract HIV. However, scientists soon demonstrated that sexual preference has no bearing on a person’s susceptibility to HIV. Like anyone else, straight people can contract HIV through unsafe sex practices or other risky behaviors, like intravenous drug use.

Birth Control Pills Protect Against HIV

Most contraceptive methods do not protect against the transmission of HIV. As of now, no pill can prevent a person from contracting HIV via intercourse with an infected sexual partner. Because HIV spreads through the exchange of bodily fluids during sexual intercourse, only those contraceptive methods which put a physical barrier between two people, such as condoms or dental dams, can prevent the spread of HIV.

Unprotected Sex Is Okay If Both Partners Tested Negative for HIV

It can take several months before a test can detect HIV. So, even though someone tests negative for HIV, that person may still carry the disease.

In addition, if a person maintains sexual relationships with multiple partners, they may not always practice safe sex, putting themselves and others at risk for HIV infection. It remains imperative that people practice safe sex, even if both parties recently tested negative for HIV.

There Is No Need to Use a Condom If Both Partners Are HIV-positive

Of all the myths about HIV, this one might seem to make sense at first blush. Yet it serves as one more piece of misinformation about HIV/AIDS. Scientists have identified at least two types of HIV, so the possibility exists that partners might carry different types.

If HIV-positive partners engage in unprotected sex, they risk damaging their health further because one party may contract the more virulent version of the virus, HIV-1, or add HIV-2 on top of an HIV-1 infection that remains under control.

Can You Get AIDS From a Mosquito?

We know that HIV/AIDS passes through blood and other bodily fluids, but can you get AIDS from a mosquito bite? No. When mosquitoes bite a person, they do not inject blood from the previous people or animals they bit.

Also, HIV only lives inside a mosquito for a short time. Studies have demonstrated this scientific fact even when a particular area hosts many mosquitos and HIV-positive people.

The Chances of Getting HIV From a One-Night Stand Are Low

Any time someone engages in unsafe sex with an infected partner, they remain at risk of developing a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV. Because HIV spreads through bodily fluids commonly exchanged during sexual intercourse, it doesn’t matter if the intercourse occurs only once or many times. However, your chances of getting HIV from a one-night stand increase with every exposure.

HIV/AIDs Was Invented

The human immunodeficiency virus is not the product of a government or corporate conspiracy invented to harm people. The medical and scientific communities have performed exhaustive studies to find ways to treat HIV and AIDS so we can understand it better and enable patients with HIV/AIDS to lead long, healthy lives.

HIV Drugs Kill Infected People Faster

As one of the most dangerous myths about HIV, this one discourages infected people from seeking treatment. Antiretroviral medication treats HIV by slowing its progression toward AIDS. These medicines can decrease the number of virions present in a patient’s body. In some cases, the medications render an HIV infection undetectable.

You Can Tell If Someone Has HIV/AIDS

Early on, many people had yet to learn about the symptoms of HIV and thought the virus presented robust symptoms. However, this misunderstanding stemmed from a failure to appreciate the difference between HIV and AIDS. Some people may not know they have HIV because they may not experience any symptoms. Alternatively, they may suffer from symptoms that they attribute to other conditions, such as the flu. Same-day STD testing can help clear away any doubts and provide near-instant results about one’s HIV status.

You Can’t Get Infected Through Oral Sex

Another common myth about HIV/AIDS is that the virus cannot spread via oral sex. While it remains unlikely that someone will become infected with HIV via oral sex, it can happen. Practicing safer oral sex by using condoms can significantly reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

I Can Get HIV From a Dirty Toilet Seat

HIV/AIDS does not spread by physical touch. The disease only spreads when two individuals exchange bodily fluids, such as blood, vaginal fluid, or breast milk. When we use a toilet, no opportunity exists for another person’s bodily fluids to enter our body in any way that would allow the transmission of HIV or AIDS.

How Do You Get AIDS/HIV? The Hard Facts

HIV is among the most dangerous sexually transmitted diseases. Scientists consider it a sexually transmitted disease because it most commonly spreads through sexual contact with an infected partner. This transmission occurs due to the natural exchange of certain bodily fluids during sexual intercourse. HIV can also transmit among intravenous drug users if they reuse needles that contain blood from an HIV-positive person.

How Is HIV Transmitted?

HIV transmits through the exchange of bodily fluids, including:

  • Breast milk.
  • Vaginal fluid.
  • Semen.
  • Blood.

While saliva is also a bodily fluid and can contain HIV, the risk of transmission remains low because saliva does not carry a sufficient viral load for the disease to spread. While some people believe that HIV can spread through physical touch, it cannot because our sweat and lipids do not contain sufficient virions for transmission.

How Do You Get AIDS?

AIDS emerged as a dangerous, chronic condition characterized by a severely compromised immune system. AIDS results from the damage to the human immune system caused by HIV. If left untreated, an HIV infection can result in someone developing AIDS. However, one of the most frightening myths about HIV is that someone with HIV will always develop AIDS. After many clinical trials, recent advances in antiretroviral medication have decreased the death rate by enabling some HIV-infected patients to avoid developing AIDS and lead normal, productive lives.


Set your mind at ease by getting tested for HIV at Rapid STD Testing! Call us immediately at (866) 872-1888 to take a 10-panel STD test if you believe you may have come into contact with HIV in the last 72 hours.