Immunodeficiency Center (IDC)
We offer free, confidential, HIV testing to anyone who wants to know their HIV status. Anyone can request an HIV test in the Community Practice Center weekdays from 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm. Anyone who is sexually active or using intravenous drugs should be tested for HIV every 6-12 months.
There are many easy ways to prevent HIV, including using condoms and taking medication whether you are HIV positive or HIV negative.
For people living with HIV, taking daily medicine and maintaining an undetectable viral load is the most important thing for your health and to prevent intimate partners from contracting HIV.
For people who have tested HIV negative, taking PrEP is a safe and effective way to prevent HIV. Our comprehensive HIV prevention program includes education, risk reduction counseling, HIV testing, access to PrEP and PEP services, adherence counseling, provision of condoms and community outreach. If you are interested in PrEP, please contact us at 267-785-0892 even if you don't currently have health insurance.
You can also order an at-home HIV test kit here.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is different from most other viruses because it attacks the immune system. The immune system gives our bodies the ability to fight infections. HIV finds and destroys a type of white blood cell (called T-cells or CD4 cells) that the immune system needs to fight disease. The amount of HIV virus you have in your blood is called your viral load. Your doctor will talk to you about your CD4 cells and viral load each time you visit the IDC. The goal, with the help of medication, is to get your viral load low (undetectable) and your CD4 count high. With an undetectable viral load, HIV will not make you sick or develop AIDS.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. AIDS is an advanced stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV to reach this stage, even if they have not received treatment. Having AIDS means that the virus has weakened the immune system to the point at which the body has a hard time fighting infection. When someone has one or more specific infections, certain cancers, or a very low number of CD4 cells, they are considered to have AIDS.
Who Can Get HIV?
HIV affects children, women and men of every age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class, and economic status.
How Do You Get HIV?
HIV is found in the blood, semen, vaginal fluid, or breast milk of an infected person. HIV is transmitted in three main ways:
- Through sex (anal, vaginal or oral) with someone infected with HIV
- Sharing needles or syringes with someone infected with HIV
- Being exposed to HIV before or during birth or through breast feeding (fetus or infant)
You cannot get HIV through sharing food or drink, contact with urine or feces, sweat, kissing, shaking hands, or mosquitoes!
You CAN have sex with HIV.
Using condoms every time you have sex is the best way to protect yourself and your partner from transmitting HIV. Taking HIV medicine every day lowers the amount of virus in your body and makes HIV transmission less likely. Ask a social worker for FREE CONDOMS.
Is There a Cure?
There is still no cure for HIV, but the virus can be controlled and become undetectable! There are many treatment options to help people stay healthy for a very long time. There have been recent scientific breakthroughs and advancements in medicines that make staying healthy with HIV easier than it ever has been before.