HIV is a virus that can be transmitted sexually or through sharing needles. HIV weakens a person’s immune system so they cannot fight off other infections. HIV can progress into a condition called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
HIV is transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. HIV can be spread during sexual contact, from sharing needles (e.g., through intravenous drug use), or from mother to child during vaginal birth or breastfeeding. Using a condom or dental dam during sexual contact can prevent transmission.
Symptoms & Complications
There are no direct symptoms of HIV. The virus attacks a person’s immune system, making them vulnerable to other infections. It often takes years for an infected person to notice any changes in their body.
An HIV positive person can be diagnosed with AIDS if their immune system gets very weak and their T-cell count drops below 200.
If you are thinking about becoming sexually active or already are, it’s very important to get tested. An HIV test is super quick. With just a finger prick of blood, a rapid HIV test can show results within 10 minutes.
HIV is not curable but it is treatable. There are many treatments to help manage HIV and AIDS. It’s very important that people infected with HIV work closely with a medical provider to find the treatment medication that works with their body. For local information on HIV, check out the Boulder County AIDS Project (BCAP).
Someone can get tested for HIV at Teen Clinic. Also, free HIV testing is offered once a month by BCAP at our Longmont Clinic, and twice a month at our Boulder Clinic. For HIV testing in Boulder, walk in the first and second Tuesday of the month from 4-6pm. For HIV testing in Longmont, come in the third Wednesday of the month from 4-6pm.