The Ministry of Health in Burma/Myanmar considers HIV its first priority in disease prevention, and HIV prevention represents a significant element of the work of many of the international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) based in the country (CBI, 2006; Ministry of Health, 2008). Yet in Burma/Myanmar, as elsewhere in Southeast Asia, there is a ‘‘cultural queasiness’’ around HIV. This queasiness is a dis-ease of the emotions, transmitted through the ongoing linking of HIV transmission with ‘‘bad behaviour’’ (resulting, in part, from HIV prevention’s own repeated use of a ‘‘risk group’’ approach). Indeed, the mere existence of HIV prevention work, in and of itself, sparks waves of cultural queasiness because it transgresses the norms regarding which topics are considered appropriate for public airing, and which are not. Through reference to empirical research involving in-depth interviews and observation of field work practice, this article demonstrates how the desire to minimise this queasiness can result in disavowal of the experiential and emotional complications so deeply embedded in HIV prevention and HIV transmission. Thus HIV prevention both is affected by, and reinforces, cultural queasiness.