FACTS ABOUT HIV

WHAT IS HIV?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus- it destroys the body’s ability to fight off sickness and is the virus that causes AIDS.
A person with HIV may not know he or she has the virus and it can pass from one person to another- mostly through sexual contact.
HIV is found primarily in four body fluids:

  • blood
  • seminal fluid
  • vaginal fluids
  • breast milk

People with HIV who take their medicine and have an undetectable amount of virus in their blood
are only 4% likely to pass on the disease. That’s why it’s important for everyone at risk to be tested. If everyone with HIV has a suppressed viral load through medication, we believe the epidemic can be slowed tremendously.

HOW CAN I GET HIV?

You may be at risk if you

  • have ever had unprotected sex with a partner whose HIV status you do not know or are unsure of
  • have had more than one sexual partner
  • had unsafe sex (without a condom or barrier protection) with someone who has HIV
  • received blood or blood products before 1985
  • used intravenous drugs or shared needles and/or “works” with others
  • had sex with someone who shoots drugs and shares needles and /or “works” with others
  • shared needles for tattooing or body piercing


HIV/AIDS IN MONTANA

There are  more than 500 people reported to be living with HIV in Montana. Currently there are at least 80 persons living with HIV in Gallatin, Park and Madison Counties. The CDC believes that between 20 and 25% of all people with HIV do not know they have the virus.  By the end of September there had already been 27 new cases of HIV diagnosed in Montana. 37% of those who received a diagnosis of HIV also received an AIDS diagnosis at the same time- meaning we need people to get tested sooner.

The sooner HIV+ persons receive medication, the more likely they are to live long, healthy lives.

More information about HIV/AIDS is available here:
http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/PHSD/STD-HIV/std-hiv-hivfaq.shtml

Resources

A major part of AIDS Outreach’s mission is to provide resources, support and assistance for HIV+ persons, their families and caregivers. We also provide HIV Testing as a resource in our community. One of the greatest resources for HIV+ persons that we are able to provide is a support group. Below you will also find a list of links to additional resources as well as a list of DVD Media Resources and a Documents Library containing some useful information.

Support Group

Studies have shown that persons living with HIV have longer and more satisfying lives when they are part of a support network.

To that end, AIDS Outreach provides a monthly support group for HIV+ persons facilitated by a licensed therapist and certified HIV educator.

For more information or to join the support group please contact us.

Links

Newly diagnosed? http://www.thebody.com/content/art49985.html

HIV Information and news: http://www.projectinform.org/

MT HIV/STD Stats: http://hivdata.hhs.mt.gov/

Health, Life & HIV: http://www.poz.com/

DVD Media Resources

“The Age of AIDS”– http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/aids/view/

“The Fire Within”– http://www.hivictorious.org/aids_documentary_the_fire_within.htm

“Does Anyone Die From AIDS Anymore?”– http://libweb.lib.buffalo.edu/emro/emroDetail.asp?Number=529

“Undetectable: The New Face of AIDS”– http://www.fanlight.com/catalog/films/334_undetec.php

“The House of Numbers”–http://www.houseofnumbers.com/site

Document Library

Types of Lab Tests - Types of commonly ordered lab tests- and why they are important to HIV positive persons