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The Facts About HIV and AIDS | MetroPlus Health NYC Health Insurance

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HIV/AIDS is a dangerous disease. It can even be fatal. But there are ways to protect yourself and keep from being infected. The first step is to learn the basics. This presentation from MetroPlus Health Plan covers the basics on HIV and AIDS including prevention tips as well as common myths. For more information on this topic please visit: http://www.metroplus.org/Healthy-Living/Health-Information/AIDS-HIV

The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your doctor may recommend based on individual facts about you.

Published in: Health & Medicine
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The Facts About HIV and AIDS | MetroPlus Health NYC Health Insurance

  1. 1. The Facts About HIV and AIDS
  2. 2. What you need to know: HIV/AIDS is a dangerous disease. It can even be fatal. But there are ways to protect yourself and keep from being infected. The first step is to learn the basics. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. The virus attacks the body’s immune system cells. These are the cells that help fight diseases. After getting HIV, many people have what feels like a bad case of the flu. Some lose weight quickly or have a dry cough. Others may feel fine. Some people with HIV feel healthy for years. This is why almost 1 in 5 people with HIV doesn’t know it. But even if you feel good, HIV hurts your body. As HIV destroys your immune system cells, it gets harder for your body to fight any infections. When this happens, it’s called AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Men, women, and children can all have HIV/AIDS. It affects nearly 7 times more African- Americans and 3 times more Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites. There is no cure yet for HIV/AIDS, but you can get treatment. MetroPlus has a team of doctors who specialize in HIV. They can make sure you have the care you need. Call the Partnership in Care Program at 1.800.579.9798.
  3. 3. How can you get HIV/AIDS?: In the U.S., there are more than 1.1 million people with HIV/AIDS. It is spread from person to person through: • Unprotected sex • Sharing needles for injecting drugs • Sharing toothbrushes or razors • Blood transfusions Fear over HIV/AIDS has created a lot of myths about how it is spread. Remember, you cannot get HIV/AIDS by: • Hugging, shaking hands or sharing food • Being bitten by an insect • Being coughed, sneezed, or spat on • Kissing with mouths closed. Learn how to protect yourself. There are many things you can do to lower your risk for getting HIV/AIDS: • Practice safe sex. Sex is the most common way to get HIV/AIDS. Not having sex is the surest way to lower your risk. If you do have sex, always use a latex condom. Do not use oil-based creams and lubricants, such as skin lotion or petroleum jelly. Use only water-based products. • Limit your sexual partners. The more sexual partners you have, the higher your risk for getting HIV/AIDS. Being in a long-term, exclusive relationship with someone who doesn’t have HIV/AIDS lowers your risk. So will having sex with fewer people. • Don’t share needles. Injecting drugs is the second most common way to get HIV/AIDS. If you inject drugs, seek help to quit. If you don’t quit, be sure to use clean needles every time. To find out more, call MetroPlus.
  4. 4. What if I’m pregnant or breast-feeding? Women with HIV/AIDS can pass the disease on to their children. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth, or breast-feeding. There is good news, though. With the right medical treatment, you can lower the chances of giving your child this disease to 1 in 100. Get tested for HIV/AIDS before you get pregnant. If you find you have HIV/AIDS, talk with your doctor. The most common way for children to get HIV is from their mothers. Take action so this does not happen to your little one.
  5. 5. Know Your Status Getting tested for HIV/AIDS is the best way to stop it from spreading. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says everyone ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once. If you’re at a higher risk, you may want to get tested every year. It’s best to be tested at a place where people can counsel you about the results. HIV/AIDS testing is private. Talk with your doctor about getting tested. Or call the MetroPlus Partnership in Care Program at 1.800.579.9798. Many New York City and New York State testing programs do not require you to give your name. There are also tests that you can do at home. Call the New York State HIV/AIDS hotline at 1.800.541.2437 to learn more.
  6. 6. If you have HIV/AIDS: There are treatments that can help you live a long, normal life with HIV/AIDS. You can also take steps to keep from spreading it to others: • Antiretroviral drugs. These drugs work by keeping HIV from spreading in your body. People with HIV/AIDS usually take at least 3 of these drugs as part of their treatment. To be as healthy as possible, it is vital to stick to your treatment. • Honesty. If you have HIV/AIDS, you need to let your partner know. That way, you can both be sure to practice safe sex. He or she will also know to get tested often. • Self-care. Eat a healthy diet. Get some exercise on most days. Do everything you would do to stay healthy if you didn’t have HIV/AIDS. Taking care of yourself will help your body fight the disease. • Talk with your doctor about ways to stay healthy. Your doctor can tell you about other diseases you may be at risk for. These may include tuberculosis, also called TB. Your doctor also can give you advice about how to keep your friends and loved ones safe from infection. MetroPlus is here to help. We have many services for people with HIV/AIDS. Call Customer Services at 1.800.303.9626. You don’t have to face this alone.

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