FACT CHECK: Is HIV Not Contagious?

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook allegedly shows a doctor injecting himself with an HIV-infected needle to prove that HIV is not contagious. 

Verdict: False

The claim is baseless. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson confirmed that HIV is contagious in an email to Check Your Fact.

Fact Check:

An HIV patient recently become the oldest to be cured of the virus after receiving a stem cell transplant, according to New York Post. He is one of the five people worldwide to be go into full remission of HIV, according to ABC News.

The Facebook post claims HIV is not contagious. The post shares a video that allegedly show footage of a man injecting himself with a needle that had HIV-infected blood.

“In 1993 Dr. Robert Willner inoculated himself with HIV positive blood on live television,” the text on the video reads. “He wanted to prove that the HIV virus was not contagious. He never tested positive.”

It’s true that Willner gave such a demonstration, according to a Washington Post article that was published in Nov. 1994. Anthony Fauci dubbed the experiment “extremely dangerous” and was concerned about the effect it would have on citizens’ views of safe sex.

The claim that HIV is not contagious, however, is false.

“Yes, HIV is contagious. Most people get HIV through anal or vaginal sex, or sharing needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment (for example, cookers),” a CDC spokesperson confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact. “But there are powerful tools to help prevent HIV transmission.” 

The spokesperson also directed Check Your Fact to a page on the CDC website detailing more information about HIV and its transmission. (RELATED: Does Coronavirus Have HIV Proteins That Indicate It Was Genetically Modified?)

Check Your Fact has reached out to HIV.gov for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received. 

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter


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