FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON HIV/AIDS*

Frequently Asked Questions refers to listed questions and answers, all supposed to be frequently asked in some context, and pertaining to a particular topic. Below is a list of Frequent Questions within each HIV/AIDS Basic topic category.

HIV/AIDS 101 

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 (OI), or their T-cell counts fall below a certain level.

For more information, please visit CDC’s “Basic Information” page.

What is the origin of HIV?

AIDS was not artificially created.

For more information, please visit CDC’s “Origin of HIV/AIDS” page.

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.

For more information, please visit the CDC’s “Which body fluids transmit HIV?” page.

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. 

For more information, please visit the CDC’s “HIV and Its Transmission” page. 

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. 

For more information, please visit the CDC’s “HIV Q&A” page.

PREVENTION

Can I get HIV from hot tubs or steam rooms?

No, HIV does not survive outside the body, and fluids like sweat and saliva that are typically secreted during these activities have never been shown to transmit HIV.

For more information, see CDC’s Which body fluids transmit HIV? 

What illnesses caused by germs in food and water do people with HIV commonly get?

Germs in food and water that can make someone with HIV ill include E.coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and Cryptosporidium. They can cause diarrhea, upset stomach, vomiting, stomach cramps, fever, headache, muscle pain, bloodstream infection, meningitis, or encephalitis.

For more information, see CDC’s Safe Food and Water.

 

*Source: Adapted from http://aids.gov/frequently-asked-questions/