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What are STDs and HIV/AIDS?
• STDs stands for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Common STDs include herpes, syphilis, HPV, genital warts, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia.
• HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus and causes AIDS.
• A person can have any of these viruses for months or years before any signs of illness appear.
• HIV weakens the body’s ability to fight off infections. Therefore, people with AIDS develop serious infections and cancers.
How do people get STDs and HIV?
• HIV and STDs are spread through unsafe sexual contact with an infected person.
• HIV also spreads through contact with blood of infected people, such as sharing used needles and syringes.
• For HIV, contact can also come from breast milk, and it can be passed from woman to baby during pregnancy, childbirth, and when breastfeeding.
How can I keep myself from getting an STD or HIV?
The best way to avoid getting STDs and HIV is to avoid activities that would allow the virus to be passed to you. By following these suggestions, you will lower your risk of getting STDs and HIV:
• The only way to avoid sexual exposure to STDs and HIV is to get tested and to have all of you sexual partners tested or to abstain.
• If you are not certain that your sex partner is uninfected, you should use a latex condom correctly every time you have sex.
• HIV can also be spread by sharing injection equipment. To lower your risk of getting HIV, do not share needles or syringes.
Why get tested for STDs or HIV?
You cannot generally tell by looking at someone whether he or she has HIV or an STD infection. A person can be infected with HIV or an STD and not know it. The only way to be confident that you are not infected is to get a HIV test.
• It is important to find out if you are infected with HIV and STDs so that you know if you need to avoid activities that could infect someone else.
• It is also important to find out if you are infected with HIV or STDs so that you can receive good medical care. Some STDs can be cured with medication, and others can be treated to keep symptoms from bothering you. New treatments for HIV can help keep you healthy.
Who should I tell if I am HIV-Positive?
• If you test positive, you need to know that this infection is not passed to another person through casual contact.
• Many states require that you notify any new sexual partner prior to having sex with them. Past sexual and needle-sharing partners are to be notified so that they can also be counseled and offered testing. If requested, your local health department will provide you assistance in notifying partners
Where can I get more information?
You can also call the National AIDS Hotline: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) TTY: 1-888-232-6348 Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org In English, en Español to talk with an HIV specialist. They can give you quick, private answers at any time, day or night.