HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV weakens your immune system and makes it much harder for your body to fight off infections. When HIV infection progresses, it can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is a set of symptoms and specific illnesses—like infections and cancers. Fortunately, effective treatments exist to keep your immune system strong. By starting on treatment early and staying on it, HIV is now a manageable, chronic condition.
CDC recommends that everyone ages 13 to 64 gets tested for HIV at least once. You should get tested for HIV at least once a year if:
Most people who were exposed to HIV will have a positive HIV self-test within 3 months of that exposure. HIV tests have a window period. This is the time from infection until the time the test is able to detect infection. The OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test is an antibody test and can usually detect HIV 3 months since your last exposure.
If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV less than 3 months ago, you should see a healthcare provider and get a blood test.
A positive result from the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test means that you might have HIV but additional testing from a health care provider is needed to confirm the result.
The most important thing to know about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is to get tested regularly, which can range from 3 to 6 months up to a year. This can involve getting a blood test, peeing in a cup, and/or swabbing your throat and butt, depending on the types of sex you’re having. To find free or low-cost STI testing near you click here.
U=U stands for undetectable equals untransmittable. That means people with HIV who follow their antiretroviral therapy (ART) can achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load—the amount of HIV in the blood. People who have an undetectable viral load do not transmit the virus to their sex partners.
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is medicine that reduces your chances of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV. PrEP is very safe and generally well tolerated. Most insurance plans (public and private) cover PrEP, and you can find a provider to prescribe it to you if you think you would benefit from being on it. If you cannot use this locator, please reach out to our PrEP navigation team by calling 628-899-4662 or emailing email@example.com.
Condoms can be great for many people. There are many different condom options, and they are very effective and cheap. They can be a great choice if you don’t know your partner well. They’re also great for making sure one of you doesn’t give the other a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or HIV. Condoms are easy to use, come in a variety of colors and flavors, and it’s easy to find them for free by clicking here.
Drugs and alcohol may be part of your life. The best thing you can do is get info and support to keep yourself healthy. Below are some resources for people who use and inject drugs that can help prevent HIV, hepatitis C, and overdose.
Find local harm reduction programs
NEXTdistro.org: Get harm reduction supplies mailed to you
Taking a pregnancy test, talking about pregnancy with a partner, starting birth control, and knowing about abortion options are all ways to make sure you can control if and when to become pregnant. Pregnancy can be prevented by using condoms, taking a pill, and other long-acting prevention methods, like IUDs. Below are resources about these options.
Get info on abortion laws and services in your area