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Commonly Asked Questions


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Commonly Asked Questions


  1. Why can't you get HIV from a mosquito bite?
    There is not sufficient viral load, and the mosquito's blood is not compatible with the virus.
  2. Can you contract HIV from engaging in oral sex?
    People have become HIV-infected through unprotected oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
  3. Can you contract HIV from swimming in a pool with a person who is HIV-infected?
    No, there is not sufficient viral load and the chlorine will kill the virus.
  4. How effective are condoms in preventing infection?
    Properly used lubricated, latex condoms have shown to be consistently effective in preventing the transmission of HIV. Animal (skin) condoms are not an effective barrier.
  5. Is there a cure for HIV or AIDS?
    Presently there is no cure for HIV or AIDS. Research efforts are primarily directed towards prevention and treatment of HIV infection.
  6. How long does it take for HIV to test positive in the body?
    Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that presence of detectable HIV antibodies to HIV can occur after 30 days from infection. Most occur within 3-6 months after infection.
  7. What is the difference between testing HIV-positive and having AIDS?
    A positive test means only that the body has begun to produce antibodies to the virus. AIDS and the opportunistic infections which accompany it develop after the virus sufficiently weakens the body's immune system.
  8. Does HIV always lead to AIDS?
    Currently over 90% of the people who are HIV infected are expected to develop AIDS.
  9. Where can I go for an HIV test?
    Confidential testing is available from the campus' Student Health Services and from Planned Parenthood in Canton. Anonymous testing is available at the St. Lawrence County Department of Health in Canton.
  10. What is the difference between confidential and anonymous testing?
    Confidential testing involves an identifiable record of your test results. At a confidential test site, people can directly refer you for services if you test HIV positive. Anonymous testing involves no identifiable record of your test results. Your anonymity is protected, but you do not receive follow-up care after the initial post-test counseling session UNLESS you convert to confidential testing.
  11. Is it true that HIV can be transmitted through fingering?
    Yes, the virus can be transmitted through cuts, cracks or sores in the skin. Use of latex finger cots or gloves is recommended for fingering.
  12. Can you contract HIV from French kissing?
    While there have been no documented reports of HIV infection from French kissing, it is theoretically possible if there are lesions or sores in the throat.
  13. Can you contract HIV by having sex with an infected partner only one time?
    Yes, there have been documented cases of HIV infection from a single exposure to unprotected sex.
  14. How likely is it for a male to contract HIV by engaging in unprotected sex with an infected female?
    Of the over 700,000 recorded cases of AIDS in the U.S., 122 (.04%) can be attributed to a male contracting the virus from unprotected sex with a female.
  15. Can you contract HIV from having unprotected sex if the male does not come inside his partner?
    This is possible since the virus can be found in 'pre-cum,' the pre-ejaculatory fluid.
  16. Can you contract HIV during dental procedures?
    Dentists display certificates stating that they follow standard procedures in cleaning their equipment. The chances of contracting HIV from your dentist are statistically insignificant.
  17. What types of medication are there for HIV-infected people?
    There are a wide variety of treatments to prevent the occurrence of opportunistic infections (OI's) and increase the number of T-cells and to slow down the progression of the virus.
  18. What percentage of college students are HIV positive?
    Currently, it's estimated that one in 500 U.S. college students is HIV+.
  19. How safe is it to donate or to receive blood?
    It is safe to donate blood since a new kit is used each time. Receiving blood is much safer since the development of the HIV antibody test in 1985.
  20. Can you contract HIV from tattoo needles or body piercing?
    Unless the needles have been cleaned by use of standard procedures, needles carrying HIV may transmit HIV-infected blood from one person to another. Tattoo and body piercing parlors in New York State which follow standard procedures usually display a certificate.
  21. What is the maximum amount of time a person can live with HIV or AIDS?
    According to research done in San Francisco, there are over 500 people there who are long term survivors; they have lived with the virus for over 15 years. The average survival time after an AIDS diagnosis is 4 years.
  22. How accurate is the HIV test?
    If guidelines for testing are followed, test results have greater than 99% accuracy.
  23. Roughly how many people in the United States have AIDS?
    1/250 people in the U.S. has AIDS.
  24. Is it safe for two infected individuals to engage in unprotected sex exclusively with each other?
    There are five strains of the virus in the U.S. and the virus mutates within an individual's body. Therefore, HIV-infected individuals need to practice safer sex to avoid contracting or spreading a different strain of the virus.
  25. How safe is it for an HIV-infected individual to have protected sex with an uninfected partner?
    In studies of serodiscordant couples, where one person is infected and the other isn't, there was no transmission of the virus for those couples who always practiced safer sex.
  26. What situations may lower your tolerance and make you more susceptible to HIV infection?
    Co-factors such as STD's and drug use which can impair your immune system and/or your ability to make decisions may increase your risk for HIV.
  27. Are lesbians susceptible to HIV infection?
    Lesbians, as with others who expose themselves to infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids, may become infected.
  28. Can you contract HIV from sharing razors with an infected person?
    Razors can collect blood during their use, and passing that razor to another may infect that person if his or her skin is cut.