Know your risk: HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS FAQ

 
  • What is HIV/AIDS?

    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV, which means that once you acquire HIV you’ll have it for the rest of your life.

    Currently there is no safe or effective cure, but scientists are working hard to find one, and remain hopeful.

    HIV affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. When this happens, HIV infection leads to AIDS.

  • How is HIV/AIDS transmitted?

    HIV is primarily transmitted through sexual contact, as well as needle sharing and pregnant person to their newborn. There are five main bodily fluids that can transmit HIV:

    • Blood
    • Semen (includes pre-semen)
    • Vaginal secretion
    • Rectal fluid
    • Breast milk
  • How can I tell if I am infected with HIV?

    The only way to know if you are infected with HIV is to get tested. You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether you have HIV. Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for 10 or more years. Some people who are infected with HIV report having flu-like symptoms (often described as “the worst flu ever”) 2-4 weeks after exposure. Symptoms can include:

    • Fever
    • Sore throat
    • Enlarged lymph nodes
    • Rash

    These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. During this time, HIV infection may not show up on an HIV test, but people who have it are highly infectious and can spread the infection to others.

  • What can a person do to prevent passing HIV?

    Using latex condoms provides excellent protection against HIV during sexual intercourse. The internal condom and polyurethane (plastic) condoms are equally effective. Oral medication can be taken daily to prevent HIV known as Pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) can be taken 72 hours after sexual contact with someone who you suspect may be living with HIV. Sexually active individuals should get tested every six months to a year. An infected pregnant person should seek prenatal care early, to prevent passing HIV to their newborn. Also, avoid the sharing of syringes with other individuals.

  • How do I get tested for HIV?

    To get tested for HIV, a person should go to a doctor or health clinic. HIV tests may be performed on a blood or oral fluid. 

    Free anonymous and confidential HIV/STI testing services are available on a walk-in basis at our Sexual Health Clinic (2525 Grand Ave., Long Beach, CA 90815) Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm. No appointment is necessary, if you prefer to make an appointment or have any questions, please call our Sexual Health Clinic at 562.570.4180.

    MOBILE TESTING

    Free mobile HIV/STI testing is provided throughout the community at various locations in Long Beach with our Mobile Testing Unit. For more information about scheduling call 562.570.4289.

    AT-HOME TESTING

    • We are partnering up with LA County to provide FREE HIV self-test kits available at the comfort of your own home through the TakeMeHome Program. The take home tests are provided to LA County residents, including Long Beach residents and are over the age of 18.

    TESTING FACILITIES

    The following locations provide HIV testing in Long Beach: 

    Location Date & Time Phone

    AIDS Healthcare Foundation
    3500 E Pacific Coast Hwy

    Thursday
    8:30am - 5:30pm
    562.494.3413
    APLA Health
    1043 Elm Ave, Ste. 302
    Monday, Wednesday, & Friday
    11am-7pm
    562.494.4983
    CARE Clinic
    1043 Elm Ave, Ste. 300
    Monday-Friday
    8:30am - 12 pm
    1:15pm - 4:30pm
    562.624.4999
    The Center
    2017 E 4th St
    Monday-Wednesday & Friday 10am - 6pm

    Thursday
    12pm-9pm

    Saturday
    10am-4pm
    562.270.0851
    Charles Drew University/Oasis Clinic
    1807 E 120th St
    Monday-Friday
    8am - 4:30pm
    424.338.2929
    Optum Care
    2699 Atlantic Ave
    Varies 562.426.3333
  • What treatment is there for HIV?

    With proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Treatment for HIV is often called antiretroviral therapy or ART. It can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV and lower their chance of infecting others. Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can have a nearly normal life expectancy.

  • What is U=U?

    U=U means staying undetectable means you are untransmittable. An undetectable viral load is when the amount of virus in your blood is so low that a test will not detect it. Taking treatment daily as prescribed can help you achieve an undetectable viral load. People living with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit to others.

  • Where can I learn more about HIV/AIDS?

    California Department of Public Health:
    https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DOA/Pages/OAmain.aspx

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/


Resources

HIV/AIDS FAQ 


HIV/STI Resource Line

Are you a health provider or community member looking for more information about HIV/STIs? Call or submit a question online below:

 Online HIV/STI Resource Line
 (562) 570-4321 Available M-F, 8-5 pm

Any information that you share is 100% confidential