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HIV.....Myth Busting makes us feel good

Thursday 4th August 2016

Did you know?

With Condom Week in September, National HIV Testing Week in November, and then World Aids Day on the 1st December, our minds should turn to the importance of regular HIV testing.

Remember: HIV does not discriminate against anyone, be them young or old, gay or straight nor male or female.

HIV infection rates are increasing year on year in the UK. There were over 6,000 new infections in the UK in 2015 and there are still an estimated 22% of people that do not know that they have HIV. We need to raise awareness of the need to test and to test early.

Late diagnosis has a dramatic impact on a person’s health as their immune system struggles to fight the infection; it also means a person has been unaware of their HIV status and therefore they could, potentially, have put others at risk of infection.

If you have sex without a condom, it is important to visit your local sexual health clinic and get a full sexual health screen. If a person feels that they may have been exposed to HIV then they should visit their local Accident and Emergency Department within 72 hours, the earlier the better, to access a course of Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) which is a 28 day course of anti-HIV medication.

Myths....

There are still myths out there about how HIV can be transmitted and with Condom Week, National HIV Testing Week and World Aids Day coming up it is a great opportunity to dispel some of those myths:

HIV could be passed on through kissing someone – MYTH

HIV could be passed on through sitting on a toilet seat that someone else has used - MYTH

HIV could be passed on through touching someone - MYTH

HIV could be passed on through sharing a glass with someone – MYTH

HIV could be passed on through unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive - TRUE

If a person does NOT have HIV then they cannot pass it on to someone else.

The best line of defence against HIV (and many other sexually transmitted infections) is safer sex using water or silicone based lubricant and a condom. Using a condom with lube should not be chore nor interrupt sex; it should be something that two people should have fun with. They can be an effective form of protection against HIV; provided they are used correctly. Just remember to use a new condom every time you have sex.

Have you heard of any myths about HIV? Do you have any questions about HIV? Contact us here or on our social media sites for answers.