What is HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks and destroys the cells in your body that fight off infections, making it difficult for the body to fight other infections and certain cancers. Without treatment, HIV can gradually destroy the immune system and advance to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

A person can reduce or eliminate the transfer of HIV from person to person by engaging in the following activities: 

  • Utilizing condoms during sex 

  • Preventive treatment such as PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis). PrEP is a once-a-day pill that prevents HIV infection

  • Using sterile supplies when injecting drugs

  • Participating in regular HIV testing and seeking medical care for those who test positive

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. PrEP is a medication taken by people who don’t have HIV, but who are at high risk of getting infected. When taken as prescribed (Once a Day) , PrEP is very effective (estimated 99%) at preventing HIV infection. 

While PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV, it does not protect against other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condoms protect against most other STDs, as well as HIV and pregnancy.


Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

PEP is another type of preventive medication intended for emergency situations only. PEP must be started within 72 hours after possible exposure to HIV. It also comes in pill form and requires a prescription. The sooner you start PEP, the better. Every hour counts. If you’re prescribed PEP, you’ll need to take it daily for 28 days.

Additional HIV Resources