December 1 is World AIDS day and the DuPage County Health Department is urging residents to get tested and know their status when it comes to HIV/AIDS and learn the preventative methods to avoid an HIV infection.
More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with an HIV infection and 18% of that group is not aware of their infection. Many people who are HIV positive do not have symptoms of the HIV virus and often only begin to feel sick when they progress toward AIDS.
HIV is found is specific human body fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. If any of those fluids enter the body, an HIV infection can occur. Other bodily fluids like saliva, nasal fluid, urine, feces and vomit do not contain enough HIV to infect a human. There is no risk of obtaining an HIV infection through a mosquito bite or any other bug/animal.
HIV can be avoided by not sharing needles and by being abstinent (not being sexually active). If a person is sexually active, condom use and practicing safe sex can greatly reduce the risk of transmitting HIV. Sexually active people should get an HIV test once a year to make sure there is no infection.
The DuPage County Health Department in Wheaton offers HIV testing services and counseling and case management services to those living with HIV. These services are available to anyone over the age of 12 and parental consent is not required. To make an appointment for an HIV test or for more information, call (630) 682-7400.
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