HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that targets your immune system by attacking the cells within your body that protect you from infections and diseases. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease called AIDS.
How does it spread?
The virus can spread by bodily fluids; unprotected sex (condomless sex or not on PrEP), sharing needles, and by direct blood contact.
Who is at risk?
HIV infection rates are commonly highest amongst:
- Gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men, in particular Black, Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native men
- Black women
- Transgender women
- Youth aged 13–24 years (1 in 4 newly diagnosed individuals fall within these ages)
- Those who are not regularly tested or have health insurance,
- LGBTQ+ community, and
- Individuals sharing injection drug equipment
Living with HIV
HIV, when caught early, is very treatable! ART (antiretroviral therapy) is the most common treatment protocol, which when taken as prescribed, can dramatically reduce the amount of virus (viral load) in your body (viral suppression). Once suppressed, your viral load will be low enough that you have no risk of spreading the virus to someone else. People with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long and healthy lives and will not transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex.
People living with HIV are 4x more likely to develop long-Covid
People living with HIV make up 40% of all MPV diagnoses
AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a late-stage infection which means that your immune system is severely damaged, which can lead to easy infections and even death - if left untreated. Again, the earlier you are treated, the better your response will be - AIDS is treatable.
If you have been diagnosed with AIDS and currently do not have access to medication, we can help]. If you have been diagnosed with AIDS and require health insurance or increased coverage, we can help.HIV medicine can still help people at this stage of HIV infection, and it can even be lifesaving. But people who start HIV medicine soon after they get HIV experience more benefits—that’s why HIV testing is so important.