HIV

101

Hours of Operation 

 

Monday - Thursday:

                   9am - 5pm

Friday:

                   9am - 12:30pm 

 

phone:    337.439.5861

                    800.256.5145

fax:           337.436.8713

Calls received on weekends, holidays, or after hours are directed to our answering service. 

 

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Tuesday - Thursday

11am - 4pm ONLY

 

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1 in 2  people with HIV have had the virus at least 3 years before their diagnosis.

STAY CONNECTED! 

 

Contact your Case Manager if you have any questions.

 

NOTE: In order to stay in care with SLAC, a client MUST reassess every six (6) months.

 

Phone:  337.439.5861

Fax:        337.436.8713

About 40% of new HIV infections come from people who do not know they are HIV+

HIV is a virus that infects the body, attacking the immune system (which defends against germs and diseases), spread through certain bodily fluids.  These fluids include:

        • Semen

        • Vaginal fluids

        • Blood

        • Breast Milk or childbirth (if the mother is not in treatment)

At least one of these fluids must enter a person’s body in order for infection to be transmitted.

 

A virus is a small germ that enters the body and can make one ill. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks the immune system’s T-cells, also known as the CD-4 cells, which combat infections in the body. These cells recognize bacteria and foreign viruses and make helpers to fight germs.  If left untreated, a large number of these  immune cells can be killed by the virus,  preventing the body from fighting off diseases and opportunistic infections.

 

Someone with HIV can infect others, even if he or she does not feel or look sick.  It is not possible to tell by looking at someone whether or not they are infected with HIV, as they may appear healthy.  An HIV test is the only way to be sure.

 

The progression of HIV’s damaging effects on  the immune system can lead to AIDS - the last stage of HIV infection; a disease I’m which the body’s immune system is weakened.  Once the immune system is weakened, there is the potential to develop a variety of life-threatening illnesses.   Although HIV-infected, with proper treatment and care,  many people never develop AIDS.

 

Although successful preventative medicine has begun to emerge, currently, there is no cure for HIV infection.   However, proper medical treatment can control HIV , keeping viral loads suppressed and CD-4 counts higher.  Antiretroviral therapies (ART) are  daily prescription medications used to preserve the health of infected individuals, decrease the chance to transmission, combat the virus, and prevent progression into AIDS.  Prompt medical care is advised if a person receives a postpositive diagnosis.

You CANNOT get HIV from:

    • Someone spitting on you

    • Mosquitoes

    • Hugging or holding hands

    • Kissing (unless both parties have cuts or sores)

    • Tears from someone who is crying

    • Sharing eating utensils or plates

    • Sitting on a toilet seat

    • Washing clothes in the same washing machine

    • Body piercings (as long as only new needles or ink is used)

 

Disclosure 

    • Disclosure (of YOUR) positive HIV status is at YOUR discretion.

• You do not have to disclose to your employer.

• However, you MUST disclose to someone with whom you are consenting to have sexual activities.

• You CANNOT disclose someone else’s status.

If let untreated, an HIV infection can progress, overwhelming the immune system.

 

Three Stages of HIV Infection: 

        • Acute HIV infection

        • Clinical latency

        • AIDS  (Acquired  ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome)

 

Early symptoms of HIV infection may resemble the flu - muscle and joint aches, headache, sore throat, and fever.

 

Once again, successful and consistent ART treatment can suppress the virus and prevent the progress from infection to AIDS.  Once a person’s T-cell (CD-4) count drops to 200 or below, they are considered to have an AIDS diagnosis, even if their CD-4 count returns to higher healthier numbers.  Most people can remain healthy, if they are adherent to their antiretroviral therapy.  HIV positive individuals on consistent ART can live a nearly normal lifespan. Continuum care is critical for the most quality of life and keeping CD-4 count high.

 

HIV is a retrovirus.  This means that is has an enzyme that gives them the unique property of transcribing their RNA into DNA after entering a cell. The retroviral DNA can then integrate into the chromosomal DNA of the host cell, to be expressed there.

 

There is no cure for HIV.  Once a person is infected , they will always have it.  This also means that it can be transmitted to others.

 

If a female who if HIV+ is pregnant and she does not receive treatment, there is a 1 in 4 chance that the child will acquire the virus from the mother.  However, there is medication that the expectant mother can take while pregnant that may prevent the baby from becoming infected.   Expectant mothers who are HIV+  should talk to their health care provider about strategies to keep both mother and child healthy.

Prevention Strategies 

• Avoid high-risk behaviors.

• Refrain from having unprotected sex.  

• Use a latex condom properly when engaging in sexual activity (vaginal, anal, and oral sex.). Condoms are barriers that can help protect from Sexually Transmitted Infections (like syphilis and HIV.)

• Do not share needles.

• In addition to using condoms, if you are having sex or sharing needles with someone who is HIV positive, you can take PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), a medication that is highly successful in preventing the transmission of the virus to uninfected individuals. (Click here for more information about PrEP.)

• Speak with your partner(s) about past sexual partners and/or about any drug and needle use.

www.slac.org 

425 Kingsley St.        Lake Charles, LA 70605        337.439.5861