HIV, STD, and Viral Hepatitis Program

Looking for Information? - HIV

The following links provide information about HIV. These are only some of the resources available.

HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It is the virus that can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.

HIV damages a person’s body by destroying specific blood cells in the immune system that help the body fight diseases.

HIV is found most commonly in blood, pre-ejaculation, semen, vaginal secretions, and anal mucous.   HIV is spread primarily by:

  • Not using a condom when having sex with a person who has HIV.
  • Sharing needles, syringes, rinse water, or other equipment used to prepare illicit drugs for injection.
  • Being born to an infected mother—HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breast-feeding.

HIV is preventable.  You can protect yourself from getting HIV by:

  • Choosing not  to have sex (abstinence)
  • Using a condom when having sex, and a barrier method, such as a condom or dental dam, for oral sex
  • Not sharing needles or syringes of any kind if injecting drugs
  • Limiting your number of sexual partners, or being faithful to one sexual partner
  • Talking to your health care provider about how to prevent getting HIV if your partner is HIV+
  • Getting tested

The only way you know you have HIV is by getting tested.  For a list of places to get tested, (list of partners) or talk to your health care provider. 

Knowing your status is important in preventing the spread of HIV.  The sooner someone knows their HIV status, the sooner they can get help that can greatly improve the length and quality of life. 

Currently, there is no cure or vaccine for HIV.  However, new treatments are available that have been found to be highly effective at keeping infected people healthy longer and in delaying the onset of AIDS.

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