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HIV Programming

CCHD is Cass County's lead HIV agency, where you can find speakers for groups or one on one education, schedule testing, or discuss personal risk factors and the local resources to help our population remain HIV free. If you have a request or would like to schedule a HIV test, please feel free to contact us at 217-323-2182 ext 1202.  In-person Spanish and French translators are also standing by and are ready to help!

HIV Basics

What is HIV? 

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. People infected with HIV are more likely to get sick from infections and diseases that healthy persons can fight off.  

How is HIV transmitted? 

HIV can be transmitted by sexual contact, sharing drug needles, and mother to baby. To protect yourself from transmitting HIV get tested if you feel you are at risk, use condoms during anal or vaginal sex, and do not share needles. 

How is HIV diagnosed? 

HIV is confirmed by a diagnostic test. This test could be a blood draw or a finger stick procedure. Free testing is available in many locations throughout Illinois. For people who are HIV-negative and at risk for getting HIV they can take a medication called PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) to prevent HIV.

What are the symptoms of HIV?

Some people may not feel sick during the acute HIV infection stage. Others may experience: fever, chills, rash, night sweats, muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and mouth ulcers.

How is HIV treated? 

HIV treatment involves taking medicines that slow the progression of the virus in your body. The combination of drugs used to treat HIV are called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART is recommended for all people living with HIV no matter how long they have had the virus or how healthy they are. ART must be taken everyday, how the doctor prescribes them. Taking the recommended medicine reduces the amount of HIV in your blood at a very low level. 

If people with HIV do not get treated they will progress through the three stages of HIV at a more rapid rate. The three stages of HIV are Stage 1: Acute HIV Infection, Stage 2: Chronic HIV Infection, Stage 3: Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). People who are not treated are also more likely to experience life-threatening infections and cancer known as opportunistic infections. 

There is currently no cure for HIV. Once a person gets HIV, they have it for life.With the proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

For more great information on HIV, follow these links!




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