This site contains STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis prevention messages
that may not be appropriate for all ages

The Basics

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus): HIV is the virus that attacks the bodyís immune system (specifically the CD4 T Helper white blood cells). As the immune system is weakened, the body loses its ability to ward off various conditions, known as Opportunistic Infections.

While weakening the immune system, HIV is also producing billions of copies of itself each day. The number of HIV copies in the blood is referred to as the Viral Load.

HIV can only be spread through certain bodily fluids. This includes:
  • Blood
  • Semen
  • Breast milk
  • Vaginal fluids

It can NOT be spread through skin to skin contact (hugging, shaking hands), saliva, water, insects or sharing restrooms.

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome): AIDS is the resulting condition of the immune system damage caused by HIV. When a personís CD4 count falls below 200/mm3 of blood, an AIDS diagnosis will be issued. At this point the immune system is severally compromised and there is an increased susceptibility to Opportunistic Infections. Once diagnosed with AIDS, a person will always be considered AIDS Positive, even if the immune system improves and the CD4 count raises above 200/mm3.

  • The first diagnosed case of HIV in Idaho was in 1984
  • Approximately 1,300 individuals are presumed living with HIV/AIDS in Idaho
  • Persons with HIV/AIDS live in every county of Idaho
  • HIV does not always present with symptoms
  • If HIV presents symptoms after infection, it is often described as "the worst flu ever"
  • Estimates indicate that more than one million people are living with HIV in the U.S.
  • One in five of those people (20%) do not know their status
  • Getting tested is the ONLY way to know your status


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