To make an appointment or get more information call 818 -763-8836.
HIV/AIDS Frequently Asked Questions
What is HIV?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that weakens the immune system and causes HIV disease and AIDS. HIV stands for:
H – Human, this virus only infects human beings
I – Immuno-deficiency, the virus creates a deficiency, a failure in the normal function of the immune system
V – Virus, a virus needs a living cell to reproduce and is incapable of reproducing by itself. It.
What is AIDS?
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) also called Advanced HIV is the life-threatening stage of HIV disease. People diagnosed with AIDS have an immune system so badly damaged that certain diseases (random infections) or cancers can develop. AIDS stands for:
A – Acquired condition is an infection that is not transmitted, and not inherited through the genes.
I – Immune; the immune system that protects the body from germs such as bacteria, fungi and viruses is affected.
D – Deficiency; the immune system does not work properly.
S – Syndrome; people experience a wide range of different diseases and opportunistic infections.
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV spreads by:
- Unprotected sexual intercourse (anal, vaginal, oral).
- Sharing injection drug paraphernalia – including needles, syringes, cookers, and other injection equipment.
- From an infected woman to her fetus (vertical or perinatal transmission), or to her child through infected breast milk (neonatal transmission).
- Through direct exposure to infected blood or needle sticks (casual sharing), or tattoos or piercing with non-sterile equipment.
Questions? For more information, call Valley Community Healthcare at 818-763-8836 to make an appointment or to learn more.
What is PrEP and PEP?
How are they different? Both are medications that work to prevent HIV infection.
PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is a medication you can take daily as a preventative measure against HIV infection, if you have not tested HIV-positive.
PEP (Post-exposure Prophylaxis) is a medication you can take within 72-hours after a possible exposure to HIV (sex with or sharing needles with someone who is or may be HIV positive).
It is important to seek medical attention immediately because the sooner you take PEP medication, the better chance you have of remaining HIV negative.
STDs Frequently Asked Questions
What are sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STIs or STDs)?
The words” sexually transmitted infections or diseases” or “STIs or STDs” are used to describe a group of more than 25 different diseases that can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
How are STDs transmitted?
STDs can be transmitted through oral, anal or vaginal sex. Some STDs are passed through skin-to-skin contact in the genital area without having intercourse. Because they can be transmitted from partner to partner with or without visible signs or symptoms, many people pass an STD to a sex partner without knowing it.
What are typical STD symptoms?
Many STDs have no noticeable symptoms. In women, typical STD symptoms may include unusual vaginal discharge (flow), sores, bumps, burning when urinating, and redness or itching around the vaginal area.
Typical symptoms for men may include discharge from the penis, burning when urinating, and sores, bumps, or redness on or around the penis
How can I tell if my partner has an STD?
In most cases, you cannot tell by looking if someone has an STD or not, as visible symptoms often do not show. Visible signs such as sores or bumps in the genital area may be an irritation or a symptom of something else. It is always best to practice safer sex by using a condom.
What should I do if I think I have an STD?
See a health care provider immediately. Early treatment helps to minimize some long-term effects. Avoid sexual contact until you are treated, and make sure your sex partner(s) are tested and treated as well. Always wear a condom to lessen the chance of infecting your partner.
What is the best protection against STDs?
Most STDs are preventable if you take proper precautions. Correctly using a condom (latex or polyurethane) can significantly reduce the risk. Abstinence (not having sex) is the only sure way to prevent any STD. By limiting your number of sex partners and staying monogamous, reduces your risk of acquiring an STD.
If I get tested for HIV, do I get tested for all STDs?
No. Each STD, including HIV has its own test. Talk to your provider to make sure you are getting the tests you need.