What is HIV/STI/PrEP?

Overview of HIV

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is an infection transmitted from one person to another from sharing needles, sexual contact, and transferred from mother to baby. When an individual has HIV, the virus causes serious damage to their immune system, making it easy for them to get other infections. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS, and it can be deadly. 

There is currently no cure for HIV. Once someone is infected, they will have it for life. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. People with HIV who get effective HIV treatment can live long, healthy lives and protect their partners. HIV medicine can make the viral load so low that a test cannot detect it (called an undetectable viral load).

Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load (or staying virally suppressed) is the best thing you can do to stay healthy. If you have HIV, it is important to make choices that keep you healthy and protect others.

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Overview of STI

There are many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Medication can cure some, but some are incurable diseases. Treatment can manage incurable STIs if diagnosed early. All of these can cause severe damage to people's health and even threaten their lives. However, a person can still have an STI, although they may not have symptoms. The only way to know for sure if you have an STI is to get tested.

Picture Source: https://www.cdc.gov/std/prevention/lowdown/lowdown-text-only.htm

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