Woman's Health Centers

When Someone You Love Needs a Choice



What Is It?

A disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that damages the body’s ability to fight infections.

How Can I Get It?

Sexual contact (vaginal, oral or anal) with someone who has HIV, sharing unsterile needles and through breastmilk.

What Are the Symptoms?

WOMEN CAN BE WITHOUT SYMPTOMS AND STILL HAVE HIV. Constant tiredness, unexplained fever, chills or drenching night sweats, unexplained loss of 10 or more pounds, unexplained swollen glands, pink or purple flat or raised blotches on or under the skin, constant diarrhea, persistent white spots in mouth, dry cough or shortness of breath.

How Can I Know For Sure?

A blood test called the HIV antibody test is done to see if you have been infected with HIV. Only a doctor can tel if you have an HIV infection. AIDS is the last stage of an HIV infection.

How Is It Treated?

There is no known cure for HIV. Drugs are available to help fight the spread of the infection through the body. Drugs are also available to treat different illnesses which take advantage of the body’s weakened ability to fight them. HIV is treatable and is managed as a chronic illness. HIV does not have to be fatal.

What Can Happen If I Don’t Take Care Of It?

People with AIDS can develop certain life-threatening diseases. If a woman has HIV, she can pass the virus to her fetus who can then develop AIDS. The virus can be spread to sexual partners and through needle sharing.

Woman’s Health Centers can provide you with resources to get tested for HIV.