HIV Services
General Information about HIV/AIDS

What does HIV stand for?
What does AIDS stand for?
What is the difference between being HIV+ and having AIDS?
What fluids can carry HIV from one person to the next?
What are some ways fluids get from one person into another? How is HIV spread?
How can I get tested for HIV?
When should I begin treatment if I am HIV+?
How do I select a doctor if I am HIV+?


What does HIV stand for?

(H)uman (affects humans)
(I)mmuno-deficiency (refers to a weakening of the body's defense system)
(V)irus (a germ that can be spread between people)

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What does AIDS stand for?

(A)cquired (caused by exposure to something)
(I)mmune (affecting the body's defense system)
(D)eficiency (a weakened state or condition)
(S)yndrom (having more than one of the symptoms of illness)

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What is the difference between being HIV+ and having AIDS?

Being HIV+ means you have tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.

Having AIDS means that you have an HIV infection, that you have 200 or less T-4 cell count (a certain type of infection fighting cell) and/or you have had one or more AIDS-defining illness (opportunistic infections).

Once you have an "AIDS" diagnosis, you will always have it, no matter what your current health condition.

Having an AIDS diagnosis may provide you with additional government health entitlements and benefits.

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What fluids can carry HIV from one person to the next?

The following fluids can spread HIV from a person who has it to a person who does not. We call them "transmission" fluids:

Other body fluids like saliva, tears, and sweat do NOT transmit HIV.

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What are some ways fluids get from one person into another? How is HIV Spread?

Unprotected Sex:

Drug Use:

Mother to Child:

Click here for information about how to protect yourself from HIV and prevent HIV from spreading.

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How can I get tested for HIV?

You can find out if you have HIV by getting a blood test or an oral fluids test. Free testing is widely available.

ASC offers the OraQuick Advance Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody test, which collects oral fluid from the mouth to determine if HIV antibodies are present, and provides results in as little as 20 minutes. A positive test result should be confirmed by an HIV blood test.

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When should I begin treatment if I am HIV+?

There is no one answer to this questions that applies to everyone. Please consult your physician.

Many doctors recommend starting your treament when your CD4 count is less than 350.

There are many types of treatments today and each one has its plusses and minuses. But please remember that while medications may be difficult to take and often have unpleasant side effects, skipping doses can have serious repercussions to the success of your treatment regimen.

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How Do I Select a Doctor if I am HIV+?

Find a doctor who is familiar with treating HIV disease—an HIV specialist. You may "interview" several doctors before making a permanent selection. Don't jump from doctor to doctor—build a relationship over time. Learn about your health and don't leave all the decisions up to your doctor. Your doctor is your partner in health.

To read about HIV prevention strategies, click here.

To learn more about HIV/AIDS health and information, please visit our page or recommended web resources and links.

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ASCNYC
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