What is HIV? How is HIV spread? How is HIV diagnosed?

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a very small germ that causes a weakening of a person’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, often called T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease.

HIV is spread from a person who has HIV through certain body fluids– blood, semen, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids. Less often, HIV can be spread from mother to child during pregnancy or breastfeeding or from receiving blood products or transfusions. Most often, people get or spread HIV through sexual behaviors and needle or syringe use. It is not spread through casual contact.

Your healthcare provider can order a blood test to test for HIV or you can come to Tricounty Health Department where we can do a rapid blood test that takes 20 minutes.

How can HIV be prevented?
• Don’t have sex with an infected person
• Limiting the number of sexual partners
• Never share needles
• Use condoms the right way every time you have sex

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