AIDS and HIV are words that can still provoke feelings of fear and anxiety in many people today and this in spite of the fact that this viral infection is no longer the killer it once was. With the advent of sophisticated drugs used in combination therapy, HIV has become a largely manageable condition, something that can be successfully lived with. Where HIV was once shrouded in mystery, and even called 'God's vengeance', today we know that HIV is a viral infection that may be acquired through a few well-established routes. We know that HIV transmission can occur through sexual contact, blood-to-blood contact, such as sharing hypodermic needles, and passed from mother to baby during pregnancy, the birthing process or through infected breast milk. HIV simply cannot be transmitted through activities such as hugging or most kissing, nor can it be acquired from toilet seats, shared eating utensils, glasses, cups or plates etc. because of this there is no real need to be anxious about these particular areas.
In fact, HIV is such a fragile virus - or, to be exact, a 'retrovirus' - that the virus can survive for only a brief period of time when outside of the body.