HIV: Testing, Prevention, and Treatment
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that weakens a person’s immune system by destroying important cells that fight disease and infection. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). In the United States today, nearly 1.1 million are infected.
Anyone of any age, race, or gender can be affected; however, some groups of people in the United States are more likely to get HIV than others. Certain factors such as being sexually active or using drugs and sharing needles can increase the likelihood of contracting the virus. About 1 in 10 new HIV diagnoses are attributed to injection drug use or male-to-male sexual contact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages 13 – 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of their routine health care.
No effective cure exists for HIV. But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Getting tested is the first step to finding out if you have HIV. If results are positive, you can live a long, healthier life by getting proper medical care and taking prescribed medications. You also lower the chances of spreading HIV to others.
We Prescribe PrEP
One significant HIV prevention resource available is called Pre-exposure Prophylaxis or more commonly referred to as PrEP. PrEP is medicine people at risk for HIV self-administer to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed. Although there is less information about how effective PrEP is among people who inject drugs, we do know that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by at least 74% when taken as prescribed
Medina County Health Department (MCHD) offers confidential HIV screening and prescribes PrEP treatment at both of its Health Center locations. Walk-ins are accepted but not encouraged. Appointments can be made by calling 330-723-9688, option 1.
For Medina County Providers:
If you are interested in initiating PrEP prescribing services within your practice and are seeking guidance on how to get started, MCHD Medical Director, Craig Eldridge, MD., is available to speak with you. He can be reached by calling the Health Center at 330-723-9688, option 1.
Resources for clients: http://ohiv.org/