This portion of The Feronia Project was funded by HANS, the HIV/AIDS Network of Southwest Florida.
Over the last 20+ years there have been countless studies on HIV/AIDS that have yielded far more information than we have space for here. We are going to cover the basics here and dedicate periodic blog posts to HIV/AIDS.
What is HIV/AIDS? HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus and AIDS is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV is the name of the virus that causes the disease, AIDS. Once HIV invades the cells of the immune system, it uses them to make copies of itself, and then destroys the cells. Without these cells to help us fight the infection, our bodies become incapable of fighting other opportunistic infections.
How can I prevent it? Although it is estimated that more than one million people are living with HIV in the U.S., there are ways to prevent its transmission: practice abstinence, use condoms every time, get tested regularly, ask your partner about their status, reduce your number of sexual partners, don’t share needles, etc. HIV is most commonly spread through the exchange of four bodily fluids: blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and breastmilk. You can find great HIV information at Avert.
Where can I get tested? The National HIV and STD Testing Resources website will help you find the closest testing site to your zip code. If you are in the west central Florida area, call 1-800-230-PLAN for HIV testing at Planned Parenthood or visit our website to book an appointment.