Myths persist about how HIV is transmitted. People think that HIV can be transmitted by saliva, pets, bugs, sharing cutlery, insect bites, using common toilets. This is incorrect.
- HIV can’t survive outside of the body so you won’t get HIV from touching someone, hugging them or shaking their hand.
- There is no HIV in an infected person’s sweat, tears, urine or faeces.
- You cannot get HIV from insects. When an insect (such as a mosquito) bites you it sucks your blood – it does not inject the blood of the last person it bit.
- HIV cannot survive in the air so coughing, sneezing or spitting cannot transmit HIV.
- New needles cannot transmit HIV because they haven’t been in the body of an infected person. If used needles are cleaned and sterilized properly they can’t transmit HIV either.
- HIV can’t survive in water, so you won’t get HIV from swimming pools, baths, shower areas or from drinking water. Toilet seats, tables, door handles, cutlery, sharing towels, musical instruments, kissing will not transmit HIV.