HIV and AIDS

WHAT IS IT?

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. You can have HIV in your body for many years and not feel or look sick. HIV slowly makes it harder for your body to fight off diseases. It is passed through blood, semen (cum), vaginal fluids and breast milk.

HOW DO YOU GET IT?

You can get HIV from having sex (vaginal, anal or oral) with someone who has HIV. You can also get it by sharing needles for drugs or tattoos with someone who has HIV.  If you are pregnant and have HIV, you can give it to your baby before birth, during birth, or when you breast-feed.

You can NOT get HIV through the air, or by shaking hands or hugging a person with HIV. You won't get HIV from toilets, insect bites, or from sharing food or dishes.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

You can't tell by looking if someone has HIV.  Most people with HIV look healthy and feel fine. They often don't know they have it, but they can still give HIV to someone else.

Later signs of HIV/AIDS may be a lot like some other illnesses. You may feel tired, lose weight, have a cough, diarrhea, or fevers. You may get other diseases that your body can no longer fight off.

HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOU HAVE IT

Go to a clinic or doctor to take a blood or oral test for HIV. Call the number below to find a test center near you.

There is still no cure for HIV and AIDS. But it is better to find out early if you have it. There are new medicines and other ways to help you stay healthy for a longer time.

PROTECT YOURSELF!

If you have sex, using a latex condom (rubber) is the best way to protect yourself from HIV. Limit your number of sex partners. The more people you have sex with, the greater your chance of getting HIV. Don't share needles for drugs or tattoos. If you do share, clean the needles with bleach and water.

For more information and clinic locations

Call the National STD/HIV InfoLine

1-800-342-AIDS

Indiana State Department of Health

Adapted from the Los Angeles County STD Program