To help you answer questions that might come up, here are some commonly asked questions
with medically correct answers:
- If somebody in my class at school has AIDS, am I likely to get it too?
- No. HIV is transmitted by sexual intercourse, needle sharing, or infected blood.
It can also be given by an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth,
or very rarely, breast-feeding.
- People infected with HIV cannot pass the virus to others through ordinary activities
of young people in school.
- You will not become infected with HIV just by attending school with someone who
is infected or who has AIDS.
- Can I become infected with HIV from kissing?
- Not likely. HIV occasionally can be found in saliva, but in very low concentrations-
so low that scientists believe it is virtually impossible to transmit infection
by deep kissing.
- The possibility exists that cuts or sores in the mouth may provide direct access
for HIV to enter the bloodstream during prolonged deep kissing. Still, most scientists
agree that it would take a great deal of saliva to transmit the virus that way.
- There has never been a single case documented in which HIV was transmitted by kissing.
- Scientists, however, cannot absolutely rule out the possibility of transmission
during prolonged, deep kissing.
- Can I become infected with HIV from oral intercourse?
- It may be possible.
- Oral intercourse often involves semen, vaginal secretions, or blood- fluids that
- HIV is transmitted by the introduction of infected semen, vaginal secretions, or
blood into another person's bloodstream.
- During oral intercourse, the virus might be able to enter the bloodstream through
tiny cuts or sores in the mouth.
- As long as I use a condom during sexual intercourse, I won't get AIDS, right?
- Far from being foolproof, condoms may break during intercourse.
- Condoms have been shown to help prevent HIV infection and other sexually transmitted
diseases. Condoms in combination with a spermicide are the best preventive measure
against the AIDS virus besides not having sex.
- You have to use them properly. And you have to use them every time you have sex -
vaginal, anal, and oral.
- The only sure way to avoid infection through sex is to abstain from sexual intercourse,
or engage in sexual intercourse only with someone who is not infected.
- You can get HIV from any kind of sex if you do not use a condom.
- Anal intercourse with an infected partner is one of the ways HIV has been
most frequently transmitted.
- Whether you are male or female, anal intercourse with an infected person is very
- If I have never used intravenous drugs and have had sexual intercourse only with
a person of the opposite sex, could I have become infected with HIV?
- Yes. HIV does not discriminate. You do not have to be homosexual or an intravenous
drug user to become infected.
- Both males and females can become infected and transmit the infection to another
person through intercourse.
- If a previous sexual partner was infected, you may be infected as well.
- Is it possible to become infected with HIV by donating blood?
- No. There is absolutely no risk of HIV infection from donating blood.
- Blood donation centers use a new, sterile needle for each donation.
- I had a blood transfusion three years ago. is it likely that I am infected with
- It is highly unlikely. All donated blood has been tested for HIV infection since
- Donors are asked if they have practiced behaviors that place them at increased risk
for HIV. If they have they are directed not to donate blood.
- Today the American blood supply is extremely safe.
- Even though it is highly unlikely that you became infected with HIV from a transfusion
three years ago, there is a extremely remote possibility that infected blood was
used. If you are very concerned, you should see your doctor or seek counseling about
getting and HIV antibody test. Call the National AIDS Hotline (1-800-CDC-INFO) or
your local health department to find out about counseling and testing facilities
in your area.
- Can I become infected with HIV from a toilet seat or other objects I routinely use?
- No. HIV does not live on toilet seats, or other everyday objects, even those on
which body fluids may sometimes be found. Other examples of every day objects are
doorknobs, phones, and drinking fountains.
- Can I become infected with HIV from a mosquito or other insects?
- You won't get AIDS from a mosquito bite. The AIDS virus does not live in a mosquito,
and it is not transmitted through mosquito's salivary glands like other diseases
such as malaria or yellow fever.
- You won't get it from bed bugs, lice, flies, or other insects, either.
- A friend of mine told me that as long as I am taking birth control pills, I will
never get AIDS. Is this true?
- Birth control pills do not protect against HIV.
- Latex condoms are known to help prevent the transmission
- Use them properly every time you have sex.
- Even if you are taking the pill, you should use a condom if you plan to have sex
with someone whom you do not know to be uninfected.
- I think I might have been infected two months ago when I had intercourse without
a condom with someone I didn't know. Should I get an HIV test?
- You should seek counseling about the need for HIV testing.
- What do I do if I think I am infected with HIV?
- Remember, you must have engaged in behaviors that place you at risk for HIV infection.
Those behaviors include:
- sharing needles with an infected person.
- having sexual intercourse with an infected person.
- If you are still concerned, you need to talk to someone about getting an HIV test
that will determine if you are infected. That person might be a parent, doctor,
or other health care provider, or someone who works at an AIDS counseling and testing
- Call the National AIDS Hotline (1-800-CDC-INFO) to find out where you can go in your
area to get counseling about an HIV test. You don't have to give your name, and
the call is free. You can also call your State or local health department. The number
is under "Health Department" in the Government section of your telephone book.
- Your doctor may advise you to be counseled and tested if you have hemophilia or
have received a blood transfusion between 1978 and 1985.
- What is the proper way to use a condom?
- You can decrease your chances of infection with AIDS or any other sexually transmitted
disease if you follow this list of simple instructions:
- Use a condom every time you have sex- anal, oral, vaginal
- Use condoms made of latex rubber. Latex serves as a barrier to the virus. "Lambskin"
or "natural membrane" condoms are not as good because of the pores in the material.
Look for the word "latex" on the package.
- As soon as the penis becomes erect, put the condom on it.
- Leave a small space in the top of the condom to catch the semen, or use a condom
with a reservoir tip. Remove any air that remains in the tip by gently pressing
toward the base of the penis.
- When you use a lubricant, check the label to make sure it is water-based. DO NOT
use petroleum-based jelly, cold cream, baby oil, or other lubricants such as cooking
shortening. These can weaken the condom and cause it to break.
- If you feel the condom break while you are having sex, stop immediately and pull
out. Do not continue until you have put on a new condom.
- After climax (ejaculation), withdraw while the penis is still erect, holding on
to the rim of the condom while pulling out so that it doesn't come off.
- Never use a condom more than once.
- Don't use a condom that is brittle or that has been stored near heat or in your
wallet or glove compartment for a long time. check the package for date of expiration.
- A condom can't do you any good if you don't have one when you need it.
- I think that my son may be having sexual relations with other males. Is there any
information in addition to the materials in the website that I need to know about
before I talk to him about HIV and AIDS?
- The information presented in this website is pertinent for all youth, regardless
of their sexual orientation.
- HIV does not discriminate. it is not who you are, but what you do that determines
whether you can become infected with the virus.
- A condom should be used when having any type of intercourse. However, condoms are
not foolproof and may break.