HIV and AIDS : What you should know...
Welcome to the December 2009 issue of the Health Matters Newsletter, published monthly
by the Health Center and part of the weekly Campus Report. It's purpose is to share
information regarding pertinent medical issues with students, faculty and staff here
at SUNY Fredonia. December is "AIDs Awareness Month", and our topics will include:
AIDS: What you should know
HIV versus AIDS: The Difference and How to Prevent it!
How to get involved in AIDS prevention?
AIDS: What you should know......
What is AIDS?
Over the past century, AIDS has become more noteworthy due to it's prevalence in American
Society. AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a preventable, life-threatening
illness caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). With time,
the infection with HIV causes you to lose your ability to fight off serious infection.
When this happens, HIV infection becomes AIDS.
Who is at risk for developing AIDS?
If you are infected with HIV, you can pass the virus to other people even when you
may have no sign of illness. The virus can be spread by contact with your blood or
semen. It can also be spread to babies by breast milk if the mother is infected with
the virus. People close to you are not at increased risk if they do not have sexual
contact with your or contact with your blood.
IV drug users and people receiving blood transfusions are also at higher risk of being
exposed to the virus through infected blood. Since the mid-1980's, in North American
, it is standard practice to test all donated blood for the HIV virus, therefore,
decreasing the risk of infection through receiving a blood transfusion.
Men and women can transmit the HIV virus sexually. The virus has been found in semen
and vaginal secretions. Both vaginal and oral intercourse can spread the HIV virus.
Anal intercourse and intercourse with numerous partners can increase the risk of
The following groups are at a high risk for contracting an HIV infection and possibly
-sexually active homosexual males
-bisexual men and their partners
-IV drug users and their sexual partners
-people who share needles such as IV drug us, tattooing, or piercing
-heterosexual men and women with more than one sexual partner
-people given blood transfusions prior to the mid 1980's
-immigrants from areas with many cases of AIDS such as Haiti and east central Africa
-people who have sex without using a latex or polyurethane condom
-babies born to HIV infected mothers
Who should be tested for HIV?
A person should be tested for HIV if:
-You are or were in a high-risk group listed above.
-You have ever had unprotected sex and have not been tested.
-You are or plan to become pregnant .
Where can I get tested for HIV?
Ask you health care provider where you can get the test. Many community health centers,
family planning clinics, hospitals, STD clinics and county health departments offer
the testing. Or you may call the Centers for Disease control National AIDS Hotline
at 1-800-342-AIDS to find a testing center near you. The SUNY Fredonia Student Health
Center frequently run clinics for HIV testing. These clinics will be announced via
email to students, staff and faculty.
What do the test results mean?
If your test is negative, it means you have not been infected with the AIDS virus
before 2 to 6 months ago. As long as you do not engage in any high-risk activity
and always practice safe sex, you have almost no risk of becoming HIV positive or
developing AIDS. If you are or were at high risk, you should speak with your health
care provider as to how often you should be retested.
If your test is positive, a second test will be done to confirm that you are infected
with the HIV virus.
How can I prevent giving HIV to others?
If you are infected with HIV, you should take the following precautions to avoid spreading
the virus to others:
- Avoid sexual and other high-risk activities, such as sharing needles. Often, people
with HIV can give the virus to others before they know that they are infected. Safe
sex should always be practiced to help prevent the spread of infection.
-If you are sexually active, you should engage only in safe sex. Avoid exposure to
blood and sexual secretions during sex. This means:
-Avoid vaginal/anal intercourse unless condoms are used.
-Avoid oral-genital sex without condoms.
-Avoid oral-anal sex
-Avoid getting semen or blood in cuts or in the eyes
-Do not donate blood, plasma or semen
-Do not plan to donate organs. ( If you were previously planning to donate organs,
have that statement removed from your driver's license.
-Do not share or reuse IV needles and syringes. Boiling does not guarantee sterility
of needles or syringes.
-Do not use nitrate inhalants (poppers).
-Do not share razors, toothbrushes, or anything that could be contaminated with body
fluids or bloods.
-Tell your health car providers that you are HIV positive.
-If you work in a dental, medical or other health care professional and perform invasive
procedures or have skin sores, use latex gloves to protect patients from risk of infection.
-Get medical checkups at least once a year, or more often if your health care provider
recommends it or if you have symptoms that suggest AIDS.
For more information about HIV and AIDS:
Contact the National AIDS Hotline at 1-800-342-2437
Want to get more involved with AIDS prevention?
Third Annual Chautauqua County AIDS Walk
December 5th, 2009
This year, all proceeds from donations, fundraising, and registration will go to Partners
in Health. Please check out our links for more information on the organization!
YES! This year the walk will be held INSIDE! So no more worrying about what the weather
will be like.
What is the event?
There will be countless activities going on during the event, including raffles, dancing,
and killer live music. Also, a few campus organizations will have tables of their
own to do whatever they please with.
How can I register?
Pre-registration ends on Friday November 20, 2009 but you can register any time before
the event as well as the day of. You can get a registration packet from any STEPS
member. If you don't know anyone in STEPS, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be sure to get you a registration packet. Want to save money with registration?
Get your friends together and form a team!