What does HIV stand for?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for most HIV infections throughout the world.
Is HIV the same as AIDS?
No. AIDS stands for Aquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome and is a disease of the body’s immune system caused by HIV. AIDS is typically defined when the count of CD4 cells (important part of the body’s immune system) becomes very low, which can make the body more susceptible to life-threatening conditions like infections or cancer.
How can you get HIV?
HIV transmission can happen when fluids containing HIV from an infected person enter the body of an uninfected person. Blood, semen, pre-cum, vaginal fluid & breast milk are fluids that can transmit HIV. HIV can enter the body through the opening to a penis, vagina, anus, a mouth with sores or bleeding gums, needles & cuts. HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva. Healthy skin can also be an excellent barrier against HIV.
Who gets HIV?
HIV has no face, anyone can get it. It’s not who you are, it’s what you do that puts you at risk for HIV.
Where can I get tested for HIV?
In New York City, there are a lot of places where you can get tested. One place C.H.A.T. recommends is Project STAY, a clinic located 610 W 158th St. (By Riverside Dr), open 2:30-6:30pm on Thursdays. They offer free & confidential HIV & STI testing. 646.284.9739
What if I test positive for HIV?
Testing positive for HIV is not what it used to be. Even though there is currently no cure for HIV, it is not a death sentence. It is now considered a manageable disease. Proper medication & treatment can help many people with HIV live happy and healthy lives.
How can I be an ally for someone who has HIV?
C.H.A.T. believes an important way to be an ally is to ask questions, try not to make assumptions about anyone’s status, educate yourself about HIV, be respectful and supportive, and stand up against hateful comments and misinformation about HIV. It can help to find a supportive adult or mentor too.
What does self-esteem & body image have to do with HIV?
C.H.A.T. peer educators think about this a lot. Sometimes images & messages in the media can make us feel like we’re not “good enough.” Bullying (online & in-person) can also make us feel bad about ourselves and can lower our self-esteem. If we’re not feeling great about ourselves or our bodies, it may lead us to make risky sexual decisions. What do you think? What are ways that can help increase self-esteem and make less risky sexual decisions?