Common myths and rumors about HIV, AIDS and PLHIV

  • Having sex with a virgin can cure AIDS.
  • Only promiscuous people get infected with HIV.
  • Anyone with TB or pneumonia has HIV.
  • An HIV-positive woman must have been sleeping around.
  • People over age 40 do not get HIV.
  • PLHIV should never have sex again.
  • PLHIV should be responsible and tell everyone about their HIV-status as soon as they know they are positive.
  • Traditional healers and holy water can cure people with HIV.
  • A faithful couple that is HIV-positive does not need to use condoms.
  • Being diagnosed with HIV is a death sentence.
  • You can tell if a person has HIV or AIDS by looking at her or him.
  • ART is only available in rich countries or is for people who have a lot of money.
  • ART makes you look better on the outside, but it makes you sick on the inside and may ultimately kill you.
  • Feeling better after starting ART means an HIV-positive person has been cured.
  • Being HIV-positive means a woman should never have children.
  • All children born to women with HIV will get infected with HIV.
  • ART is too strong for pregnant women to take, as it will hurt the baby.
  • Some common myths and facts about HIV treatment:



ART is a last resort and is only good forpeople that are sick and dying.

Even people who look and feel healthy may need ART. The medicines work best if they are taken as soon as they are needed. People should not wait until they are very sick to start ART.

ART can cure AIDS.

ART is a lifelong, daily treatment. ART is not a cure for AIDS. There is NO CURE for AIDS

It is hard to be on ART because you have to come to the clinic so often

Most people taking ART only need to come back to the clinic once each month and sometimes even less often.

You have to take ARVs on a full stomach, so people who do not have enough food cannot take them.

It is true that some ARVs should be taken with food, but most of them can be taken with a small amount of food.

Only rich people can afford to take ART.

In most countries, people can get ART for free now.

Pregnant women cannot take ARVs because they will hurt the baby.

Pregnant women can safely take ARVs. ARVs help keep the mom healthy and can prevent HIV infection in the baby

People can share ARVs with family members

Each person in the family needs to get her or his own ARVs from the clinic. If you share them, it means you are not taking the correct dose for yourself.

Once you are feeling better, you can stop taking ART.

ART is for life! Even if you start to feel better after you start ART, stopping will eventually make you sick again. Stopping ART will also make it very difficult to have the medicines work if you start taking them again. When this happens, you might need to take different kinds of ARVs that are not always available

If you take ART, you can have sex without condoms because the HIV will not spread anymore.

People can still pass HIV to others while on ART, even if they feel healthy. It is important to always use condoms when you have sex.

Traditional medicines are just as good as ART

While some traditional medicines can help people feel better, research has shown that ART is the best way to treat HIV.

If the ARVs make you feel sick, you should stop taking them.

Some ARVs can cause mild to serious side effects in some people, so it is important to know the signs and seek regular care by a doctor or nurse. Most side effects can be managed or will go away over time

There are no ARVs for babies and children.

There are special kinds of ARVs for babies and children, and the dose is based on their weight. Children should not be given adult ARVs unless instructed by a doctor