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HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) attacks the infected person’s immune system.  HIV is only found in humans. Normally the immune system fights off diseases. However, HIV destroys special white blood cells (called T cells or CD4+ cells). This causes the infected person to have a weaker immune system. The longer a person has HIV, the weaker the immune system becomes.


HIV is only transmitted through four fluids. It cannot be transmitted through casual contact such as hugging or kissing. Each of these fluids must come in contact with an individual’s bloodstream for infection to occur. The fluids listed below are ranked from highest to lowest concentration of HIV These fluids are:
    • 1. Blood
    • 2. Semen
    • 3. Vaginal secretions
    • 4. Breastmilk
HIV Testing Information:
The HIV test is quite simple. It involves a quick finger stick and only takes 10 minutes for results.  The test does not search for HIV in the blood. Instead, it looks for antibodies. For most people it takes three months for antibodies to be present in the blood. Therefore an HIV test will always have a “window period” of three months, and a person should get tested three months after possible exposure.  

Estimates of New HIV Infections in the US, By Transmission Category, 2006




Hall HI, Song R, Rhodes P, et al. Estimation of HIV Incidence in the US. JAMA2008;300: 520–529.

IDU (Injection Drug Users) refer to the population that uses needles to inject drugs. 
MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) are men who engage in sexual behavior with other men.  These men may identify as gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, transgendered, or straight. 
MSM-UDU is the male population that injects drugs with needles and has sex with other men.


Estimates Rates of New HIV Infections, By Race/Ethnicity, 2006



Hall HI, Song R, Rhodes P, et al. Estimation of HIV Incidence in the US. JAMA2008;300: 520–529.