11 Myths About AIDS in Black America

Don't believe the hype. Get the facts about HIV and AIDS.

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Magic Johnson Is Cured  - Yes, Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been living with HIV for over 20 years and seems pretty healthy, but even he will admit that that’s a result of his HIV treatment. Magic still has HIV and he is not cured, because there is no cure yet.(pbs.org)

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Government Has a Cure for HIV, but Won’t Share It - Thanks to the 1932–72 Tuskegee study, during which government doctors allowed syphilis to go untreated in Black men to learn about its progression, many of us have a distrust of the medical community. But currently there isn’t a cure or vaccine for HIV — but the virus is treatable.(Photo: Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

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You Can't Get HIV From Anal Sex - This is a common misconception about heterosexual men and women and yet this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Regardless of your sexual orientation, anal sex is 18 times riskier than vaginal sex when it comes to HIV transmission. Wearing condoms during anal and vaginal sex is crucial.(Photo: Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Magnum Condoms)

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Life Is Over When You Test Positive - Yes, initially testing positive for HIV is hard to accept. But life begins when you actually know your status because now you are no longer in the dark about your health. And with knowledge comes power — power in starting a treatment, improving your health and taking the next steps to ensure a long and healthy life. (Photo: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Amy Peterson / Getty Images)

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Testing for HIV Means You Are Looking for It - Wanting to know your HIV status doesn’t bring any “karma” into your life. That isn’t how HIV transmission works. Getting tested is actually a responsible thing to do because it protects you and your partners.(Photo: John Ricard / BET)

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AIDS Meds Will Kill You - Plenty of folks think that back in the day AZT — a form of treatment — killed people. Yes, AZT had serious side effects, but science now is more advanced and so are the meds. Not to mention, mounds of research shows that HIV treatment helps people live longer, not the opposite.(Photo:  REUTERS/Mike Segar) 

Down-Low Men Fuel the Epidemic - Regardless of what pop culture keeps telling us, there are mounds of research that have said repeatedly that “sinister down-low brothas” are NOT fueling HIV/AIDS among Black women. Data suggests that we look to structural factors like poverty, poor health, late testing, incarceration, etc. along with behavior (not using condoms) to help fully explain the epidemic.(Photo: Getty Images)

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Down-Low Men Fuel the Epidemic - Regardless of what pop culture keeps telling us, there are mounds of research that have said repeatedly that “sinister down-low brothas” are NOT fueling HIV/AIDS among Black women. Data suggests that we look to structural factors like poverty, poor health, late testing, incarceration, etc. along with behavior (not using condoms) to help fully explain the epidemic.(Photo: Getty Images)

You Can Tell If Someone Has HIV  - There is absolutely NO way to be able to look and tell if someone has HIV or AIDS. This disease looks like you and me. It can look healthy and it can look sick. It can be wealthy or poor. Nothing superficial will help you determine who has HIV and who doesn’t.(Photo: Getty Images)

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You Can Tell If Someone Has HIV  - There is absolutely NO way to be able to look and tell if someone has HIV or AIDS. This disease looks like you and me. It can look healthy and it can look sick. It can be wealthy or poor. Nothing superficial will help you determine who has HIV and who doesn’t.(Photo: Getty Images)

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HIV Only Happens to Promiscuous People - How many people you sleep with is irrelevant, because all it takes is one person to transmit HIV. Not to mention, past studies have found that being in a relationship can put people at risk for HIV, too, because that’s when people decide to put their guard down and ditch condoms.(Photo: Getty Images)

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HIV Only Happens to Promiscuous People - How many people you sleep with is irrelevant, because all it takes is one person to transmit HIV. Not to mention, past studies have found that being in a relationship can put people at risk for HIV, too, because that’s when people decide to put their guard down and ditch condoms.(Photo: Getty Images)

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Straight Men Don’t Get HIV - According the CDC, heterosexual Black men are the fifth largest group impacted by HIV in the U.S. — Black women are fourth. Being straight and male and having heterosexual sex DOES NOT protect you from HIV. Straight men can contract HIV from women, which is why they need to get tested for HIV too. HIV does not discriminate in our community.(Photo: Getty Images)

You Reduce Your Chance of Having Unprotected Sex - Being under the influence can lower our inhibitions and usher in riskier sexual behavior because you are not thinking as clearly. By not getting drunk, you are lowering your risk of STDs and HIV.(Photo: Adamsmith/Getty Images)

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HIV Positive Folks Purposely Go Out and Infect Others - Yes, there have been instances of this being true, but the majority of people living with HIV/AIDS do not behave like that. A lot of times people unknowingly infect others, because they themselves don’t know that they are even positive. This is why it’s important to know your status and use condoms.(Photo: Getty Images)