I AM sure you have all heard or read lots of stories about how HIV (the virus believed to lead to AIDS) is transmitted from one person to the next. Indeed, during our time at AIDS Concern we have heard many a theory, some more entertaining than others! However, once you know the facts, the way to protect yourself and the ones you love becomes much clearer. Why not try our True/False quiz and let us dispel some of those outdated myths and misinformation. 1. You can become infected with HIV by sleeping around. 2. Sharing chopsticks with someone who has HIV can give you AIDS. 3. Using heroin will give you HIV. 4. You can get HIV from wooden toilet seats, but not plastic ones. 5. If you are fit and healthy, you will not become infected by HIV. 6. Married people do not become infected by HIV. 7. If you stick with one partner you will not become infected by HIV. 8. Women are safe from HIV so long as they use a contraceptive. 9. An infected mother can transmit HIV to her baby. 10. You can become infected with HIV from sharing toothbrushes. 11. If you only have sex with people who look healthy, you will not become infected by HIV. 12. If you only have sex with people you know, you will not become infected by HIV. 13. You can become infected with HIV through having a blood transfusion. 14. You can become infected with HIV by kissing. 15. A man can become infected with HIV if he has oral sex with a woman. 16. A woman can become infected with HIV if she has oral sex with a man. 17. A woman can become infected with HIV more easily during her periods. 18. Condoms will stop you becoming infected with HIV. 19. There are three main ways HIV can be transmitted. 20. HIV/AIDS is a 'gay disease'. 1. Sleeping around is not in itself risky, but unprotected sex with an infected person is. By using condoms properly and by avoiding sex with penetration you can substantially reduce the risk of infection. Whatever you decide to do, be assertive. As yet there is no cure for HIV or AIDS. 2. False - Firstly, it is HIV, not AIDS, that is transmitted. However, there are no known cases of transmission of HIV infection via chopsticks or any other eating utensils. 3. Only if the heroin is injected and the injecting equipment is shared with an infected person. If you are going to inject (and we strongly advise against it!), clean equipment should always be used. 4. False - There are no known cases of transmission of HIV infection via toilet seats of any description. 5. False - It does not matter how healthy or unhealthy you are, if you involve yourself in risky activities, you stand a chance of being infected. 6. False - This depends on the partners involved, what they did before they met (and the only way to know your HIV status is to have a test), whether either has unprotected sex outside the marriage or injects drugs using dirty equipment. Marriage by itself offers no guarantee of safety. 7. False - As for No. 6. 8. False - Women are safe from HIV infection if they do not have sex with penetration or share dirty needles when using drugs. They are safer (not safe) if they use condoms properly as a form of contraception. However, condoms do not offer complete safety in relation to either HIV infection or pregnancy, and no other form of contraception offers protection against HIV. 9. True - An infected mother can transmit HIV to her baby either during pregnancy, or during the birth or possibly through breast feeding. 10. There is no evidence of transmission via this route, but it is sensible not to share a toothbrush for general health reasons. 11. False - Most people with HIV will look perfectly healthy. Looks are therefore not a good thing to go by when assessing risk. 12. False - Knowing someone well offers no reliable guide to whether or not they have the HIV infection. 13. Unfortunately this has proven true for some. However, since 1985, donated blood is screened and heat treated in Hong Kong, greatly reducing this risk. 14. There is no evidence of transmission through saliva, although kissing when there are sores in the mouth may pose some risk. 15. True - HIV is present in cervical and vaginal secretions as well as in (menstrual) blood, so there is the possibility of transmission this way. The risk is now believed to be less than that through vaginal or anal sex without a condom, 16. True - HIV is present in semen, so there is possibility of transmission in this way. 17. True - It is possible that a woman may be more at risk during her period. Using a condom properly will reduce the risk. 18. Condoms used properly will help to prevent the transmission of HIV from an infected partner to an uninfected partner. Condoms are not 100 per cent safe, however. Use a lubricant which is water based. Oil based lubricants such as vaseline can weaken the condom. Some condoms have a chemical called Nonoxynol 9 in them which may help kill the virus. When buying condoms, check the 'sell by' date and make sure the packet is kept (if possible) in an air-conditional environment. 19. True - These include: 1. Transmission through unsafe or unprotected sex; 2. From an infected mother to her baby; 3. Through contaminated blood or blood products. 20. False - HIV/AIDS is neither a 'gay', 'drug user', 'prostitute' or even Western disease. It is not who you are, or even what you do, that counts. But how you do it!