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HIV / AIDS
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is transmitted in blood, semen, breast milk, vaginal fluids, and other body tissues/fluids containing blood.
How could I get HIV?
HIV is commonly spread by:
- Having unprotected sexual contact (oral, vaginal, and anal) with someone who has the virus
- Sharing needles or syringes with someone who has the virus
- Getting HIV-infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions into open wounds or sores
- Being punctured by a needle or surgical instrument contaminated with the virus
- HIV can also be passed from a woman to her fetus during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding
HIV is not transmitted by simple casual contact such as kissing, sharing water glasses, or hugging.
What are some common symptoms of HIV infection?
- Profound and unexplained fatigue
- Rapid weight loss
- Swollen lymph glands
- Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week
- Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin, or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
What is an AIDS diagnosis?
An individual is diagnosed with AIDS if they are HIV-positive and develop:
- severe immunosuppression (CD4+ count less than 200)
- one of the AIDS-defining opportunistic illnesses such as PCP, tuberculosis, toxoplasmosis, Kaposi sarcoma, HIV dementia, etc.
Once a person has been diagnosed with AIDS, s/he is always considered to have AIDS, even if they recover from the AIDS indicator illness or their CD4-cell count goes up again.
Where can I be tested for HIV?
Confidential HIV testing is available at:
GVSU Campus Health Center
Kent County Health Department
Ottawa County Health Department (Hudsonville office)
Page last modified September 14, 2010