No, living with someone who is HIV positive does not mean you will have it too

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a virus that attacks the immune system and can cause AIDS. A recent Facebook post warns that if you live with someone who has HIV, you are at risk of contracting it.

“If your roommate gets HIV, you will be exposed to it and will likely get it too, if you keep it on long enough,” the post reads. “There is no cure.”

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people contract HIV through anal or vaginal sex or from sharing needles or other equipment used to inject drugs. When it comes to oral sex, interacting in a workplace, receiving medical care, eating food handled by someone with HIV, biting or spitting, kissing and touching, “there is little or no risk of contracting HIV “, according to the CDC. “For transmission to occur, something very unusual would have to happen.”

HIV does not survive long outside the human body, so it is not transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks or other insects; through saliva, tears or sweat; by hugging, shaking hands, sharing the toilet or sharing the dishes; or by air.

Additionally, for HIV-positive people who engage in sexual activity, there are drugs that can lower their viral load, giving them “effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.” This is because you can only get HIV by coming into direct contact with certain bodily fluids of an HIV-positive person who has a detectable viral load, explains on its website.

Johns Hopkins Medicine has some suggestions for protecting yourself against HIV: don’t have sex and don’t share needles. And if you have sex, use a condom, get tested for HIV, and make sure your partners do the same.

Notably, it does not discourage people from living with someone who has HIV as a means of protection. This is because it is not accurate that you will likely get HIV if your roommate has it.

In 2009, a New York Times columnist answered a question from the roommate of an HIV-positive person.

“I don’t think he needs to tell his housemates about his status,” the person seeking advice wrote, but added that “many disagree, saying household items – a razor , a toothbrush – could be used accidentally”.

The Times quoted epidemiologist Dr Paul Marantz, who said “the risk of transmission through household contacts is very low.”

We rate this post False.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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