HIV/AIDS Education & Risk Reduction
TAN's Education Department is made up of highly trained staff and volunteers. TAN educators have made presentations at local schools, churches, businesses, hospitals and health/social agencies. TAN's educators also do outreach to areas that individuals at-risk are known to frequent. Free brochures are available for the public. Books and videos may be viewed in the HIV/AIDS Counseling & Testing Center.
What is HIV and AIDS?
HIV stands for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus:
Human -- Only Humans can get HIV. You can't get HIV from animals or insects.
Immunodeficiency -- HIV attacks your immune system, or your body's ability to fight off infections, which eventually causes a complete failure of your immune system. Your body will then be unable to fight off certain diseases.
Virus -- HIV is a viral type of infection, whereas, other infections could be either bacterial, fungal, or parasitic in nature.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:
Acquired -- Meaning that you have to actively do something to get the virus.
Immune -- Your immune system fights off infections.
Deficiency -- The immune system is no longer able to fight off infections.
Syndrome -- AIDS is not a disease, but a condition in which other diseases will affect your health
HIV infection can lead to an eventual development of AIDS and a possible subsequent death. However, with the new treatments available for persons with HIV, there is hope for the future.
What does HIV do to your immune system?
HIV attacks your immune system, more specifically, your CD4+ cells or what is commonly called T-cells.
T-cells are a very important part of your immune system. Your immune system is in a constant war against infections in order to keep your body healthy. The T-cells are like the Generals in this war. They tell other soldiers (B-cells,) what to do in this war against HIV and other infections.
HIV enters the T-cells, and become "HIV factories". More HIV is released into the bloodstream to enter more T-cells. Eventually, the T-cells die, and HIV starts winning the war. Your immune system doesn't work anymore because there aren't enough Generals (T-cells) telling the soldiers what to do.
How can you get HIV?
There are only four body fluids that can infect you with HIV.
1) BLOOD ... 2) SEMEN AND PRE SEMEN ... 3) VAGINAL SECRETIONS ... 4) BREAST MILK
If you get any of these fluids from another person inside of your blood system, you may be at risk for HIV infection. You can get HIV through the following:
a. ANAL SEX -- Between a man and a woman or a man and a man.
b. VAGINAL SEX
c. ORAL SEX
A man giving oral sex to a woman.
A woman giving oral sex to a man.
A man giving oral sex to a man.
A woman giving oral sex to a woman.
2) SHARING NEEDLES (drug use, steroids, tattoos, body piercing, or any activity in which needles are shared between people)
3) MOTHER TO INFANT -- A pregnant woman who is HIV positive can pass HIV to her baby during pregnancy, birth, or breast-feeding. About 1/3 of babies born to mothers with HIV become HIV positive. The use of AZT during pregnancy has shown to reduce that risk of transmitting HIV to the child to about 8%. PLEASE CONSIDER TAKING AN HIV TEST IF YOU ARE PREGNANT!
4) BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS AND BLOOD PRODUCTS -- If you had a blood transfusion or received blood products between 1978 and March 1985, you may be at risk because we didn't have a test to find HIV like we do now. The blood supply is very safe now in the United States( 1 percent chance) since blood centers test and screen all blood that is donated. THERE IS NO RISK OF GETTING HIV WHILE DONATING BLOOD.
How can you reduce your risk of getting HIV?
1) Fill the syringe with clean water and then expel it out. REPEAT 2 MORE TIMES.
2) Fill the syringe with pure bleach and then expel it out. REPEAT 2 MORE TIMES.
3) Fill the syringe with clean water and then expel it out. REPEAT 2 MORE TIMES.
A. If you have sex, use a latex barrier and condoms with a water based lubricant only.
B. If you use needles, don't share them with others. Use new sterile syringes each time.
If you can't use new syringes each time, then disinfect them by using bleach.
C. If you are pregnant, please be tested for HIV. If you are HIV+ and pregnant, consult your doctor about the use of drugs to reduce the risk of passing HIV infection to your baby. Do not breast feed your newborn.
D. Although non-injecting drugs and alcohol don't directly cause HIV infection, they definitely impair your judgment when it comes to protecting yourself. Having sex while you are "high" or drunk is risky behavior because you may do things that you normally wouldn't do when you are sober, such as having sex with someone you don't know, multiple partners, sex without your permission (rape), and of course -- NOT USING A CONDOM.