HIV and HIV Transmission
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). The HIV virus attacks and weakens the immune system of the infected person causing the body to lose its ability to fight disease and infection.
A person can be infected with HIV for many years before symptoms present themselves. One can feel healthy and look healthy for years (and continue to spread the HIV virus) before becoming sick.
How is HIV spread?
First, let us review how HIV is NOT CONTRACTED:
HIV can be transmitted the following ways:
How do I keep from contracting it?
Abstinence is the best and only way to ensure that you do not contract HIV. However, should you decide to engage in sexual behavior, there are ways to protect you and your partner:
What are the symptoms of HIV?
Symptoms of HIV infection can and will vary from person to person. Many people in the early stages of HIV are asymptomatic-they do not present any symptoms at all. As mentioned above, many people with HIV can go for years without being aware that they have contracted the disease. However, the following are some symptoms of HIV:
Where can I get tested?
HIV testing can be done at the Cowell Health Center. You can also contact the Health Department at (408) 299-5915 to make arrangements for an HIV test at their office.
Types of testing
Currently the two types of HIV testing done are anonymous testing and confidential testing. Anonymous testing is just that-instead of your name, you are assigned a number. Confidential testing is protected information but does include your name and is only accessible if you, the patient, give permission for its release. Make sure to inquire as to the testing policies at the facility you chose for your HIV testing.