The subject of HIV is complex and can be overwhelming to try to understand. Check out some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that our staff and volunteers here along with a straightforward answer.
Is there a cure for HIV?
No, there is no cure for HIV. There have been significant advances in the treatment of HIV. HIV is now considered a chronic disease. With proper treatment and support, people living with HIV can live a healthy lifespan.
Where did HIV come from?
Until February 1999, scientists weren’t sure where HIV originated. In February 1999, it was reported that HIV had been traced back to a subspecies of chimpanzees in Africa.
HIV is transmitted from an HIV-positive person to an HIV-negative person by the transfer of semen, vaginal fluid, anal fluid, breast milk, or blood. There is no risk of HIV transmission through wet or dry kissing without the presence of blood. There is a low risk of transmission through kissing if there is an exchange of blood.
Can HIV be transmitted by an insect bite?
There is no scientific evidence proving that HIV can be transmitted by an insect bite. HIV does not reproduce in insects, so the virus does not survive long in an insect.
I am HIV positive and pregnant. Will my baby have HIV?
In recent years, it has been shown that the risk of vertical (mother-to-child) transmission is reduced to 2-3% by treatment with anti-HIV medications during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, intravenously during labour, and to the baby just after birth.
HIV is present in breast milk, so it is recommended that HIV-positive mothers do not breast feed.
HIV does not survive long outside of the body. HIV is not able to reproduce outside of the human body.
There are several factors, such as viral load, that can impact how long HIV will survive outside of the body but it will most likely die within minutes.
Is HIV the same as AIDS?
HIV is the virus that can lead to AIDS. AIDS is a stage of HIV infection. Not everyone living with HIV has, or will, have AIDS.
“HIV is no longer just a disease, it is a human rights issue.”
– Nelson Mandela