HIV 101

Do you have a family member who was just diagnosed with HIV/AIDS? Are you looking for more information on HIV? Learn about our programs that serve those affected by HIV/AIDS such as Community HIV 101


What is HIV/AIDS?

HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV can hide for long periods of time in the cells of your body and attack key parts of your immune system- your T cells or CD4 cells. Your body has to have these cells to fight infections and disease, but HIV invades them, uses them to make more copies of itself, and then destroys them. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of your CD4 cells that your body can’t fight infections and diseases anymore. When that happens HIV can lead to AIDS.

AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. People at this stage of HIV disease have badly damaged immune systems, which put them at risk for opportunistic infections(OI's). You will be diagnosed with AIDS if you have one or more OI, certain cancers or a very low number of CD4 cells.

How do you get HIV?

HIV can be transmitted through any one of the following fluids:

HIV is transmitted through body fluids in very specific ways:

How can I protect myself?

HIV can be spread by having unprotected sexual contact with an HIV-positive person. Some of the ways to reduce your risk of getting HIV through sexual contact include:

Recent studies have led the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to advise that persons who are HIV-positive but who are on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and have had an undetectible viral load for at least six months have "essentially no risk" of transmitting HIV to others. An undetectible viral load means that HIV cannot be detected in their blood through normal testing.

The AFH PrEP Clinic may be able to help you get a prescription for PrEP free or at reduced cost depending on your financial circumstances. If you have questions about PrEP, speak with an AFH PrEP Specialist between 9 am and 5 pm at 832-874-5380 or leave a message after hours and we will return your call.


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