Culled from: The -

fears introductionFEARS!!!Over the years, has received more than 100,000 questions in our "Ask the Experts" forums from people agonizing over a possible HIV exposure.

There's no doubt the uncertainty you might feel about a possible exposure can be terrifying. The good news is that it's almost impossible to be infected with HIV while just going about your day.

Still feeling jittery? Read on for a rundown of some common fears about HIV exposure that, in fact, carry virtually zero risk.


10. Swimming in a Pool

fears swimmingSwimming

You'd be amazed how many people write to our experts worried about HIV entering their bodies via blood or urine in a pool. HIV is not transmitted through water, period --it doesn't matter whether you're standing in it, bathing in it or drinking gallons of it. (That also goes for hot tubs, showers, the sink at the gas station -- you name it!)

9. Coughing or Sneezing

fears coughingCough & SneezeMany people still find danger in simply being in the vicinity of someone who is HIV positive. But there's no need to be afraid of being near people with HIV!

HIV is not an airborne disease and cannot be transmitted even if someone with HIV coughs or sneezes directly in your face or onto your food. If it were that easy to pass along HIV, the number of people living with the virus today would probably be in the billions, not the millions.


8. Chewing Gum

Whether it's merely touching an old piece of chewed-up gum or transferring a wad of it from your HIV-positive friend'sfears chewing gumChewing Gum mouth to yours, gum does not represent an HIV risk. HIV is not transmitted through saliva; this is why you can also share food, drinks or utensils withHIV-positive people and not worry about becoming infected.

fears mosquito bitesMosquito Bites7. Mosquito Bites

What if a mosquito bites an HIV-positive person and then feasts on you? If a mosquito can transmit malaria, it can transmit HIV too, right? Wrong! Malaria is a very different kind of disease than HIV.

Even if HIV could survive long enough in the extracted blood, there would be so little HIV in there that you'd have no risk of being infected by it if you were the mosquito's next victim -- even if you squashed that sucker on your arm, blood-filled stomach and all.

6. Public Restrooms

fears toilet seatToilet Seat

Did you forget to put down toilet paper on the seat before using the potty? No need to run out for an HIV test.

Even if a disgusting bodily fluid left on the seat were somehow able to get into your bloodstream (which is virtually impossible as it is -- and no, "up-splashing" does not put you at risk either), the HIV within that fluid wouldn't survive long enough outside of the body to harm you. Not only that, but there wouldn't be enough HIV in that small amount of fluid to pose an infection risk.

fears restaurantRestaurant5. Eating at a Restaurant

For some reason, restaurants make the imagination run wild. People write in with an endless string of scenarios, including a chef's accidental slip of the knife, a waitress with a scratch on her hand, and a piece of food that briefly fell off someone's plate and touched the table.

But here are the facts: In all of those infectious fantasies, there simply wouldn't be enough HIV present to pose a risk. (In most of them, there's zero chance that HIV would be present at all.) In addition, HIV doesn't live long enough outside of the body for any restaurant scenario to carry a risk -- that is, unless you run off and have unprotected sex with the waiter.

4. Getting a Lap Dance7fears lap dancesLap Dances

Oh, if only we had a dollar tucked in our G-string for every person who's written in after a visit to a strip club. (And it's not solely the clients who fear the wrath of the lap!) Lap dances -- and most other strip club encounters -- bear absolutely no risk for one huge reason: at least one of you is wearing clothing on top of your happy parts, and no bodily fluids are being exchanged. (Even if you think you felt a little bit of wetness on your skin, that doesn't count as "exchanging fluids.")

With no opportunity for an exchange of bodily fluids, there is nothing to fear.

fears drinking glassDrinking Glass3. Sharing a Drinking Glass

Pure and simple:Saliva is not one of the four bodily fluids that can transmit the virus. That list is reserved for blood,semen,vaginal secretions andbreast milk. So unless you weredrinking a large, frothy glass of any of those, you have nothing to worry about.


2. Shaking Handsfears shaking handsShaking Hands

Shaking hands is considered "casual contact" and absolutely does not put you at risk for contracting HIV. It doesn't matter if the shaking involved hands (yours, theirs or both) that were peeling, sweaty, dirty, or had cuts on them.

The same goes for other common concerns, such as hugging someone, being scratched or even being bitten (unless the bite is very deep, meaning it went all the way through your skin -- and even then, any potential risk would be extremely small).

fears kissingKissing1. Kissing

Of all the issues our experts are asked about, none is the source of more unwarranted freak-outs than kissing. The act of kissing on its own carries no risk for HIV. It doesn't matter whether it's a peck on the cheek or deep tongue-on-tongue action. (And no, you can't transmit HIV through cold sores.)

The only kissing scenario that would involve even a remote risk would be where fresh blood was exchanged -- and unless you're dating a vampire, that kind of thing is extremely unlikely to happen.



Teen HIV Infections Could Double by 2030: UNICEF

The number of new HIV infections among adolescents around the world is set to rise sharply unless more is done to fight the epidemic, according to a new report from Unicef.

The U.N. children’s agency said annual new infections in adolescents are projected to increase from 250,000 in 2015 to nearly 400,000 in 2030 in its report, launched to coincide with World AIDS Day on December 1. AIDS remains a leading cause of death among adolescents: In 2015, 41,000 children aged 10 and 19 died from AIDS, according to Unicef. If the trend continues, it could result in as many as 740,000 additional HIV infections among adolescents in the next 14 years.

Girls are particularly vulnerable to the disease and account for three out of four new AIDS infections among adolescents aged 15 to 19. Around one-third of new HIV infections occur outside of sub-Saharan Africa.

Preparing for Disasters and Emergencies When Living With HIV

August 25, 2016

disasters1Living well with HIV is a life-long commitment -- so it's important to be ready to deal with whatever difficulties come up. When it comes to natural disasters or other emergencies, people with HIV have several more things to prepare for than people who don't have HIV. It's important not just to think about the possibility of an emergency -- it's best to plan for it.



Will I Really Face an Emergency?disasters2

Only about 10 percent of households in the United States are prepared for an emergency. Yet, climate change and increasing weather extremes are creating more emergencies than ever. The United States had an average of 126 natural disasters each year in the previous decade -- more than 1,257 in all -- according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. So, it's wise to prepare for emergencies in advance.

Credit: Purestock via Thinkstock.


What Does HIV/AIDS Stigma Look Like in Your Life?


2evany turkEvany Turk

Evany Turk, Comer Children's Hospital, Chicago, Ill.; Diagnosed in 2001

HIV stigma looks like a lot of fear and a lot of shame among young girls and young women. They are fearful to talk about it. They're ashamed to get tested because of the stigma around HIV. And ultimately, they're ashamed to come to the doctor with any kind of illnesses. They're afraid to come to the doctor to get tested for HIV, because there is still a lot of shame and fear around the three letters of HIV.


 Gil Kudrin, Nightsweats & T-cells, Cleveland, Ohio; HIV Positive Since 1979

3Gil KudrinGil Kudrin

In my life, HIV stigma doesn't look like anything. When I go out teaching about HIV (and I do a lot of teaching about HIV to school-aged children, high schools, colleges), I always break it down into real simple terms: Dogs get fleas; humans get viruses. It's always been that way. It always will be that way. I have a virus. You might get the flu this year. That's a virus. It's not dirty; it's just a virus.

So I don't accept the stigma. Never have.


4duane quintanaDuane Quintana

Duane Quintana, a.l.p.h.a: Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS, Boise, Idaho; Diagnosed in 1999

I combat stigma every day, just by being out and open about the fact that I am HIV positive. I believe that's how we combat stigma -- by facing it dead on.



The emergence of multidrug- and cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea in the United States would make gonorrhea much more difficult to treat.

Gonorrhea has progressively developed resistance to the antibiotic drugs prescribed to treat it. Following the spread of gonococcal fluoroquinolone resistance, the cephalosporin antibiotics have been the foundation of recommended treatment for gonorrhea. The emergence of cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhea would significantly complicate the ability of providers to treat gonorrhea successfully, since we have few antibiotic options left that are simple, well-studied, well-tolerated and highly effective. It is critical to continuously monitor antibiotic resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae and encourage research and development of new treatment regimens.

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