Health and Community Services Department
HIV/AIDS COUNSELING, TESTING, EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
Health & Community Services Department
1st Wing, Ground Floor, Room G-9
Walk-In Hours: Tuesday, 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and Thursday, 2:00 -6:00 p.m.
Portage Community Center (PCC)
First Tuesday of the Month, 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Click Here for HIV Testing Flyer with locations and times.
Free, Anonymous HIV Counseling and Testing, Educational Programs, and Outreach Services. Counseling and Testing is done on a walk-in basis; call 373-5208 for more information.
Court Ordered Testing requires an appointment; call 373-5203.
Promoting HIV/AIDS awareness through Soul and Hip Hop Music
Frequently Asked Questions: HIV/AIDS
What is HIV/AIDS?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) causes AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). HIV attacks the immune system, damaging white blood cells (T-cells). Eventually the body is no longer able to fight off diseases it could before. Most people who contract HIV eventually progress to AIDS. Situations that can activate the virus are re-exposure to the virus, poor diet, alcohol/drug misuse, excessive stress, other infections, and trauma (surgeries, accidents, etc.)
What are the symptoms?
A person may have no symptoms for 11 years or more after being infected. During this time, the person can unknowingly pass the virus to others as early as 8 hours after being infected. When symptoms begin, they may include rapid and extreme weight loss, excessive tiredness, lack of appetite, profound diarrhea, fever, swollen glands, severe night sweats and unexplained rash or purplish blotches on the skin.
Can the HIV virus be spread through saliva?
No, HIV is not spread through saliva. Four body fluids that can carry the HIV virus are blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.
Can I get HIV from a toilet seat?
No, you cannot get HIV from toilet seats. Also, you cannot get HIV from:
- Swimming pools, public showers or bathrooms
- Drinking fountains
- Being in the same room with someone who has HIV or AIDS
- Donating blood
- Touching, hugging, dry kissing
If I am HIV-positive and breastfeeding, can I give my baby HIV?
Yes, the HIV virus can be spread from mother to baby through breast milk. The other ways of getting the HIV virus are through unprotected sex – oral, anal, and vaginal, and/or by sharing needles.
How can I protect myself from getting HIV?
- You may choose not to have sex.
- Have sex with only one low-risk person who only has sex with you.
- Know your partner well enough to know they do not engage in activities that may expose them to the virus.
- Limit your number of sexual partners.
- Always use latex or plastic condoms with a water-based lubricant.
- Do not share injection drug equipment (works), tattooing equipment piercing equipment, razors or toothbrushes.
- Clean your injection drug equipment (works) with bleach and water.
- Use condoms and dental dams for oral sex.
How many people are infected with the HIV virus in Kalamazoo County?
Sources: Michigan Department of Community Health, Kalamazoo County 2004 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Source: Michigan Department of Community Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Section; reported cases as of July 1, 2006
Is HIV/AIDS treatable?
Yes, there are some medicines that may slow down the replication process of HIV. However, there is no known cure or medication that kills the virus or repairs the damage that HIV causes to the immune system. Everybody who contracts HIV may not progress to an AIDS diagnosis. Currently we do not know how many people are infected with HIV, which is why it is very important to use a latex or plastic barrier for oral, anal, and vaginal sex.
You could be infected with the AIDS virus if you check one or more of the following:
I am a man who has had sex with a man.
I have had sex with a man who has sex with other men.
I have had sex with a man who has sex with both men and women.
I have shared or am now sharing injection drug needles.
I have had sex with someone who has shared injection drug needles.
I have had sex with someone who has sex with many partners.
I have had sexual partners that I did not know well.
I have, or my sex partner has, exchanged drugs or money for sex.
I had blood transfusions between 1978 and March of 1985.
I have hemophilia (bleeder).
I had sex with someone who has hemophilia (bleeder).
I have checked one or more statements above and am pregnant or considering pregnancy.
If I decide to be tested, how much will it cost and do you need to know my name?
Testing is FREE and we WILL NOT ask your name. The "AIDS Test," as it is often called, is not a test for AIDS. The test:
does not tell if you have AIDS.
does not tell if you will ever get AIDS.
CAN tell if you have been infected with the AIDS virus.
If I find out that I am HIV infected, do I have to tell my employer, family, or school of my HIV status?
No. You DO need to tell your sex or needle sharing partner(s) before having sex or sharing needles
Can I tell other people if I know about someone else's HIV status?
NO! The person who talks about another person's HIV status is guilty of a misdemeanor and punishable by imprisonment of not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $5,000 or both and is liable in a civil action for actual damages or $1,000 plus court costs and attorney fees.
Also, a person cannot ask about another person's HIV status without written permission from the person they are asking about.
Michigan law states that HIV test information and other health information may not be given to anyone else without written approval. Information will not be shared with anyone unless you say it is okay (in writing), except when the law says it is necessary to share the information with someone who needs to know. Information may be disclosed in summary, statistical, or other form, which does not directly or indirectly identify individuals.
If you have concerns regarding confidentiality you may contact the AIDS Legal Coalition of Michigan at (313) 964-4188.
How can I keep my immune system as healthy as possible?
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Learn to deal with stress positively.
- Avoid other infections, especially Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD's).
- Only engage in safer sex activities.
- Do not take unnecessary medications, especially antibiotics, steroids (cortisone type drugs). These may upset your immune system.
- Decrease or eliminate your use of recreational drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, speed, cocaine, poppers, downers, or heroin.
How can I help?
- Take the test and bring a friend
- Get the facts and spread the word
- Participate in community AIDS events
- Be a good role model
- Learn where HIV testing is done in your community
What is the AIDS Partnership Michigan?
AIDS Partnership Michigan provides HIV/AIDS education and prevention services through the Michigan AIDS-Hotline, the Health Care Workers AIDS Hotline, and literature clearinghouse and community outreach programs. Direct client services for those affected by AIDS are provided through support groups, hospital visitation, practical support, Medline adherence program, and Linda's Meals.
The MICHIGAN AIDS HOTLINE, operated by AIDS Partnership Michigan, provide access to general AIDS information and referral to local, Michigan, and national AIDS related resources. Call one of these numbers:
The Michigan AIDS Hotline: 1-800-872-AIDS (2437)
Health Care Workers AIDS Hotline: 1-800-515-3434
TEENLINK Hotline (information about AIDS and STD's for teens): 1-800-750-TEEN (8336)
Hearing Impaired: 1-800-649-3777