For patients

HIV info


HIV 101

What is HIV?

  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system.  If left untreated, it can lead to AIDS.

How do people get HIV?

  • HIV can be transmitted by sexual contact and sharing needles/injection equipment to inject drugs
  • HIV can also be spread from a mother to the child during pregnancy, birth, or breast/chest feeding.

Who should get tested for HIV?

  • Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should be tested for HIV at least once.
  • All pregnant people should get tested.
  • People with certain risk factors should get tested more often.  You should get tested at least once a year if:
    • You’re a man who has had sex with another man.
    • You’ve had anal or vaginal sex with someone who has HIV.
    • You’ve had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test.
    • You’ve shared needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment
    • You’ve exchanged sex for drugs or money.
    • You’ve been diagnosed with or treated for another sexually transmitted disease
    • You’ve been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis or tuberculosis
    • You’ve had sex with someone who has done anything listed above or with someone whose sexual history you don’t know

How is HIV treated?

  • There is currently no cure for HIV.
  • HIV treatment involves taking medicine as prescribed by a health care provider.  There are many different daily oral medications you can take as well as monthly or bi-monthly long-acting shots.
  • Treatment reduces the amount of HIV in your body and helps you stay healthy.