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1.    Myth or Fact: Cats and dogs can have HIV

2.    Myth or Fact: If you have HIV, you also have AIDS

3.    Myth or Fact: You cannot have had AIDS without first having HIV

4.    Myth or Fact: 2 condoms are better than 1

5.    Myth or Fact: When you are tested for HIV, it tests for the virus

6.    Myth or Fact: The largest group of new HIV infections is in the 15-24 age group

7.    Myth or Fact: Sharing a kiss, a glass or using the same toilet as someone with HIV can infect you too

8.    Myth or Fact: Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of contracting HIV

9.    Myth or Fact: Condoms can reduce your chances of contracting an STD

10. Myth or Fact: Using condoms often, is just as effective as using condoms every time at protecting you from STDs

1.       Myth. HIV stands for HUMAN immunodeficiency virus. Cats can have FIV which is FELINE immunodeficiency virus and dogs can have CIV. However, they cannot contract HIV.

2.       Myth. In order to qualify for the diagnosis of AIDS, you must have a T-Cell count (CD4) of less than 200 per mm3 and have one or more opportunistic infections (which are infections that people whose immune systems function properly would not usually develop). There are many people with the help of medication that are able to maintain a T-Cell count of over 200 throughout their entire life, therefore never having AIDS.

3.       Myth. Someone could have never contracted HIV and still have AIDS. As previously stated, in order to have a diagnosis of AIDS one must have a T-Cell count of fewer than 200 and one or more opportunistic infections. Hence, other immune suppressed groups such as pregnant women or those with other autoimmune diseases can fit these criteria and therefore be diagnosed with AIDS.

4.       Myth. The friction created by the two condoms actually makes them more susceptible to breaking or slipping off. Always use a condom, but just use one.

5.       Myth. The ELISA test (HIV test) actually tests for antibodies that your system may have created against the HIV. It does not test for the virus itself. Sometimes if someone has been exposed to HIV but not contracted it, the body will produce antibodies creating a false positive. In cases such as these the Western Blot test is done after to eliminate chances of false positive.

6.       Fact. Though increased condom usage has occurred over the past two decades, due to the influence of alcohol and recreational drugs as well as inefficient sexual education, HIV rates have continued to increase for this group which accounts for half of all new HIV infections.

7.       Myth. Urine is sterile and much too salty for HIV to survive in it. Saliva actually breaks down the receptors on HIV making it extremely difficult for it to attach and reproduce (however, if your partner is HIV+ and you have open sores or cuts, it would be best to avoid the exchange of bodily fluids via that orifice). Even so, there is much too little HIV in the saliva to actually infect someone.

8.       Fact. Alcohol inhibits your judgment and ability to understand consequence. In addition, it makes it extremely difficult to properly put on a condom (if you even decide to use one) and to receive consent from someone else who is inhibited. Remember, if your partner’s judgment is impaired, they CANNOT give consent. Best to just wait till you are both in a better and more alert state of mind.

9.       Fact. However, there are some exceptions namely lamb skin condoms which do not prevent against STDs only pregnancy. Otherwise, latex and polyurethane condoms both protect against STDs and pregnancy. Female condoms also protect against STDs and pregnancy. There is currently no other method other than abstinence which protects against STDs.

10.   Myth. Studies have repeatedly shown that if a condom is only used sometimes there is barely any change in your rate of reducing the chances of contracting an STD. A condom must be used every time in order to significantly cut the chance of contracting an STD.

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