There are a lot of misconceptions about the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV. Let's tackle a few.
HIV isn't in Lethbridge.
Not true! HIV is present in Lethbridge and Southern Alberta, and it's spreading.
Only gay men get HIV.
This is a huge misconception - anybody can get HIV. It can be spread through unprotected sex, sharing needles, or unsafe tattooing or piercing practices. Bodily fluids like blood and semen can spread the virus. Pregnant mothers can also pass the virus on to their babies. This is one more reason using protection during sex is so important. ARCHES has some info on safe body art here.
HIV and AIDS are the same thing.
HIV and AIDS are actually different. Having the HIV virus does not mean a person will automatically get AIDS, although the virus will eventually cause AIDS if it is left untreated. This is one reason getting tested for HIV is so important - if the virus is caught early, it can be treated more effectively. When you get tested for STIs, ask your doctor for a blood test to detect HIV too. Check out the ARCHES website for more information on HIV/AIDS.