HIV/AIDS — Are You Vulnerable?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the disease that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV changes the immune system (the system that is used to fight off sickness) making the infected person more vulnerable to AIDS-related diseases such as cancer. AIDS is usually considered a fatal disease. However, early diagnosis and treatment may help to postpone the development of full-blown AIDS. 

HIV infection has no outward symptoms. Therefore, it is usually impossible to tell if your partner is infected with the virus. Having unprotected sex puts anyone at serious risk for developing the disease. A person becomes infected when he or she comes in contact with body fluids (blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk) of an infected person.

The following is a list of individuals who are at increased risk for developing HIV: 

  • Anyone who has used a needle to inject drugs. 
  • Anyone who has had sex with an IV drug user. 
  • Anyone who has been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD). 
  • Anyone who received a blood transfusion between 1970 and 1985. 
  • Anyone who has been raped. 
  • Anyone who has had unprotected sex. 

A simple test can tell you if you've been exposed to HIV. Some testing sites are anonymous. This means that your results cannot be traced to your name, address, or social security number. Testing is necessary so that infected individuals without symptoms do not pass the disease to others. To protect yourself against HIV, never have unprotected sex!!

CDC National AIDS/HIV Hotline: 1-800-232-4636
HIV Resources

Sources:
Brown, K.M. (2000). Management Guidelines for Women's Health Nurse Practitioners. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1998 Guidelines for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. 
MMWR 1998; 47 (No. RR-1): 11-16

Free HIV Testing
Comprehensive Care will be on campus at Wick Primary Care at YSU monthly to conduct a walk-in HIV testing clinic. No appointment is necessary. Testing is free and anonymous. It will be done by means of an oral swab and will take approximately 20 minutes.