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 the Positive Families Support Group and 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:

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