Frequently Asked Question

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  • Can I get HIV from kissing?

    No. You cannot get HIV from casually kissing someone (or vice versa) who has HIV. Skin is a greater barrier against HIV. It is not recommended to engage long, open mouth kissing (“French Kissing”) with someone who has HIV and one of you has an open sore in or around the mouth.

  • Can HIV be transmitted through an insect bite?

    No, Insects can NOT transmit HIV. Research has shown that HIV does not replicate or survive well in insects. In addition, blood-eating insects digest their food and do not inject blood from the last person they bite into the next person

  • Which body fluids transmit HIV?

    These body fluids have been shown to contain high concentrations of HIV:

    • blood
    • semen
    • vaginal fluid
    • breast milk

    other body fluids containing blood

    The following are additional body fluids that may transmit the virus that health care workers may come into contact with:

    • fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord
    • fluid surrounding bone joints
    • fluid surrounding an unborn baby

  • Can I get AIDS from sharing a cup or shaking hands with someone who has HIV or AIDS?

    HIV is found only in body fluids, so you cannot get HIV by shaking someone’s hand or giving them a hug (or by using the same toilet or towel). While HIV is found in saliva, sharing cups or utensils has never been shown to transmit HIV.

  • Do all people with HIV have AIDS?

    No. Being diagnosed with HIV does NOT mean a person will also be diagnosed with AIDS. Healthcare professionals diagnose AIDS only when people with HIV disease begin to get severe opportunistic infections or their T-cell counts fall below a certain level.

  • Why can’t PEP therapy be taken after 72 hours from the point of exposure?

     HIV grows faster and faster once it enters your body. If you start taking PEP more than 72 hours after exposure, the medication can’t keep up, and research has shown that PEP has little or no effect in preventing HIV infection after the 72-hour mark

  • If I keep having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive partner, can I keep taking PEP to stay safe?

    No. The CDC does not recommend taking PEP in the event of repeated unprotected sex with an HIV-positive partner. Researchers believe that if you use PEP repeatedly, the side effects of the meds could put a strain on your immune system and make you more susceptible to HIV infection.