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Living with misinformation about HIV can lead to fear, isolation, and missed opportunities for prevention and treatment. At Legacy Community Health, we believe in empowering our community with accurate information and compassionate care.

Here’s a breakdown of the basics and common misconceptions surrounding HIV:

What is HIV?

HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, weakens your immune system by attacking CD4 cells, critical for fighting off infections. While there’s no cure, effective treatment, if taken as prescribed, reduces the amount of HIV in the body to undetectable. Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best thing people with HIV can do to stay healthy and prevent transmission of HIV to others.

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV can be transmitted through:

  • Unprotected sex: Vaginal, anal, or oral sex without using condoms or PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) medication.
  • Sharing needles or syringes: Contaminated needles can transfer the virus.
  • From mother to child: During pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding without proper interventions.

HIV is NOT transmitted through:

  • Casual contact: Sharing utensils, kissing, hugging, or using public facilities poses no risk.
  • Mosquitoes or other insects: They cannot transmit HIV.
  • Sweat, tears, or saliva: These bodily fluids do not contain enough virus to cause infection.

Common Misconceptions:

  • Myth: You can tell if someone has HIV just by looking at them. Fact: HIV often has no symptoms, and people can live healthy lives with treatment.
  • Myth: Having HIV means you’ll get AIDS. Fact: Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent AIDS, the late stage of HIV infection.
  • Myth: I’m not at risk because I’m [age/gender/sexual orientation]. Fact: Anyone can be exposed to HIV, regardless of demographics.

Know Your Status:

Knowing your HIV status is crucial for your health and the health of others. Early diagnosis allows for timely treatment, reducing the risk of transmission and improving your well-being.

Legacy Community Health offers free HIV testing at numerous locations. Click here to find a location closest to you.

Get the Care You Deserve:

If you’ve been living with or have been newly diagnosed with HIV, our expert team of clinicians is ready to provide you with exceptional care you deserve, and help you live your best life. Our trusted care teams are here to help patients living with HIV start and stay on treatment.

Legacy offers comprehensive services include primary care, case management, pharmacy, educational workshops, eye care, financial assistance, medication adherence counseling and wellness services.