What YOU need to know about HIV...

What is HIV?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a virus that attacks your CD4 cells or T-cells, which are a type of white blood cell that protects your immune system.

...and what is AIDS?

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. HIV causes AIDS. AIDS is a late stage of HIV infection wherein the body's immune system has been so beaten down by HIV that it can no longer do its job effectively, and the body may be vulnerable to diseases or cancers.

How do you get HIV?

Remember that the H in HIV stands for human. HIV is transmitted from person to person. HIV is transmitted via four bodily fluids:

  1. Blood
  2. Semen (otherwise known as cum or ejaculate, and this includes pre-cum)
  3. Vaginal fluid
  4. Breastmilk

Note: Fluids that are NOT mentioned include saliva/spit, urine, feces, sweat, and tears. None of these fluids can transmit HIV to another person.

Behaviors that involve the four bodily fluids are the behaviors that can transmit HIV. The three main ways that HIV is transmitted are:

  1. Unprotected anal, vaginal or oral sex with someone who has HIV
  2. Sharing needles or syringes with something who has HIV
  3. Exposure to HIV during pregnancy or birth, or through breastfeeding

...and how do you get rid of it?

There is currently no cure for HIV. However, there are different treatments available that can help your immune system fight against it and keep you healthy for many years.

How do you know if you have HIV?

Sometimes people with HIV display flu-like symptoms early on in infection. But many people who become infected with HIV do not show any symptoms. The only way to know for sure is to get tested. Come to the Movement for a free HIV test! Check out our testing hours here.

How can I protect myself against HIV?

If you're having sex..

Use condoms! Condoms provide a barrier for semen and vaginal fluid. When used correctly, condoms are over 95% effective in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

If you're using drugs...

Don't share needles! Using clean needles for drug use means that you won't be exchanging blood with anyone else.

Still want more information about HIV? Check out these websites:

  • HIV 411 is Louisiana's one-stop source for HIV/AIDS information and support.
  • NOLA Health Link will help you find HIV/AIDS services and care throughout New Orleans.