Citrus County Health Department
We offer HIV testing and case management for those diagnosed with HIV infection. Today, HIV infections can be easily managed with medication and there are a variety of assistance programs available to help HIV clients with their medications. Please call us today to schedule an HIV test or to get more information about our programs that could help you with your HIV medications.
What is HIV and AIDS?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can be passed from an infected person to an uninfected person when IV drug supplies are shared between them, during penetrative sexual activity, or from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy. The virus enters the blood stream where it infects T4 cells, which work to coordinate the immune responses to pathogens and toxins in the body. The virus will hijack the cell's machinery to replicate itself, killing the cell in the process. Without those cells operating fully in the body, the immune system will begin to fail. When the number of T4 cells lowers to a certain level, the infected person is then diagnosed with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
How can HIV be prevented?
- Get tested regularly or prior to new sexual partners
- Use condoms correctly and consistently for each sexual encounter
- Always use new IV drug supplies and never share supplies with another person
- Begin and adhere to a PrEP regimen
- PrEP is a medication regimen that someone at high risk of acquiring HIV can take to reduce their risk of becoming infected
- Adhere to and complete a PEP regimen
- PEP is a medication regimen that can reduce the risk of someone becoming infected after being exposed to HIV
- Consistently take HIV treatment medication to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others
How can HIV be treated?
With the treatments that are currently available, HIV can be easily medically managed. Today, those who begin treatment quickly after being diagnosed lead long and healthy lives despite their infections. These treatments typically consist of medications that can reduce the amount of virus in the body to undetectable levels so that the immune system continues to function normally. So long as the medication is taken correctly and consistently, virus levels will remain low for the remainder of the person's life.