WHAT IS HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus may be passed from one person to another when infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person’s broken skin or mucous membranes*. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.

Health educators provide HIV/AIDS education to a group and individuals at schools, correctional facilities, health fairs, seminars and homes throughout the Orlando area. The education presented is delivered through the method of “INTERVENTIONS” that have been proven effective through years of research and studies that shows positive behavioral change and/or health outcomes. These interventions focus on the transmission of HIV/STIs, risk-reduction behaviors, effective communication, and condom use.

WHAT CAUSES AIDS?

AIDS is caused by infection with a virus called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.

WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF HIV?

People newly infected with HIV will experience some “flu-like” symptoms. These symptoms, which usually last no more than a few days, might include fevers, chills, night sweats and rashes.

HOW IS HIV TRANSMITTED?

HIV can be transmitted from an infected person to another through: Blood, Semen, Vaginal secretions and Breast milk The following “bodily fluids” are NOT infectious: Saliva, Tears, Sweat, Feces, Urine.

HOW LONG AFTER EXPOSURE SHOULD I BE TESTED FOR HIV?

The time it takes for a person who has been infected with HIV to test positive for HIV antibodies is called the “Window Period”. When a person is infected with the HIV virus they develop antibodies within 12 weeks (3-months).

Every 9½ minutes, someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV. It is estimated that there are over 56,000 new cases of HIV in the U.S. each year. It is estimated that 1.7 million people in the U.S. have been infected with HIV since 1981 and approximately 1.1 million Americans are currently living with the infection.

NO VACCINE AVAILABLE
No cure exists for HIV, but strict adherence to anti-retroviral regimens (ARVs) can dramatically slow the disease’s progress as well as prevent secondary infections and complications.

HOW YOU GET IT

HIV can only be transmitted from an infected person to another through direct contact of bodily fluids such as:

  • Blood (including menstrual blood)
  • Semen / cum / precum / ejaculate
  • Vaginal secretions
  • Breast milk

By having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex.

SYMPTOMS

  • Pain areas: in the abdomen
  • Pain circumstances: can occur while swallowing
  • Cough: can be dry
  • Whole body: fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, malaise, night sweats, or sweating
  • Gastrointestinal: nausea, persistent diarrhea, comiting, or watery diarrhea
  • Mouth: ulcers or white tongue
  • Groin: sores or swelling
  • Throat: difficulty swallowing or soreness

HOW WE TEST FOR IT

Miracle of Love, Inc. provides the free confidential HIV testing with CHEMBIO which is a rapid test that uses one drop of blood by pricking the finger with a lancet and results given in 15 minutes. If the test results are Reactive or preliminary positive, then a confirmatory test is done through a blood draw and the blood sample is sent to a laboratory for the screening of the HIV antibodies and results come back in 2 weeks.

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in the United States.

NO VACCINE AVAILABLE
YOU CAN BECOME REINFECTED

Where you can get it:
Mouth, Penis, Anus, Vagina

HOW YOU GET IT

When infected fluids from the discharge come in contact with your mucous membranes, or ‘pink-parts’ (inside the tip of your penis, throat, inside the anus, etc).

SYMPTOMS

  • If symptoms do present themselves in men, there may be:

    • A discharge from the penis
    • A burning sensation when you pee
    • Pain and swelling in one or both balls (although this is less common)

HOW WE TEST FOR IT

Miracle of Love, Inc. conducts FREE Chlamydia Screenings in Orlando by the following method:

  • Urine Specimen

HOW IS TREATED

Chlamydia can be easily cured with antibiotics. HIV-positive persons with chlamydia should receive the same treatment as those who are HIV-negative.

THE LINK WITH HIV

Having an STI changes the cells lining the vagina, penis, rectum or mouth. This makes it easier for HIV to enter your body. If you already have an STI, you are MORE likely to get infected with HIV if you have sex with someone who has HIV and you don’t use a condom. If you feel you have an STI, you should also be tested for HIV if you believe you’re HIV negative.

Anyone who is sexually active can get Gonorrhea. Gonorrhea can cause very serious complications when not treated, but can be cured with the right medication.

NO VACCINE AVAILABLE
YOU CAN BECOME REINFECTED

Where you can get it:
Mouth, Penis, Anus, Vagina

HOW YOU GET IT

When infected fluids from the discharge come in contact with your mucous membranes, or ‘pink-parts’ (inside the tip of your penis, throat, inside the anus, etc).

SYMPTOMS

  • If symptoms do present themselves in men, there may be:

    • A burning sensation when you pee
    • A white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis
    • Pain and swelling in one or both balls (although this is less common)

HOW WE TEST FOR IT

Miracle of Love, Inc. conducts FREE Gonorrhea Screenings in Orlando by the following method:

  • Urine Specimen

HOW IS TREATED

Gonorrhea can be easily cured with antibiotics. HIV-positive persons with gonorrhea should receive the same treatment as those who are HIV-negative.

THE LINK WITH HIV

Having an STI changes the cells lining the vagina, penis, rectum or mouth. This makes it easier for HIV to enter your body. If you already have an STI, you are MORE likely to get infected with HIV if you have sex with someone who has HIV and you don’t use a condom. If you feel you have an STI, you should also be tested for HIV if you believe you’re HIV negative.

Syphilis makes you 5 times more likely to contract HIV if you’re exposed to it because of the sores associated with Syphilis.

NO VACCINE AVAILABLE
YOU CAN BECOME REINFECTED

Where you can get it:
Mouth, Penis, Anus, Vagina

HOW YOU GET IT

Symptoms in the first stage of Syphilis are:

  • A painless syphilis sore that can look similar to an ingrown hair, blister, zipper cut, or other seemingly harmless bump that will usually last 3-6 weeks

Symptoms in the second stage of Syphilis are:

  • A non-itchy body rash that develops on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, all over your body, or in just a few places

SYMPTOMS

  • If symptoms do present themselves in men, there may be:

    • A burning sensation when you pee
    • A white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis
    • Pain and swelling in one or both balls (although this is less common)

HOW WE TEST FOR IT

Miracle of Love, Inc. conducts FREE Syphilis Testing in Orlando by:

  • A single tube of blood
  • A rapid test (if available)

HOW IS TREATED

Syphilis can be cured with the right antibiotics. HIV-positive persons with Syphilis should receive the same treatment as those who are HIV-negative.

THE LINK WITH HIV

Genital sores (chancres) caused by syphilis make it easier to transmit and acquire HIV infection sexually. There is an estimated 2- to 5-fold increased risk of acquiring HIV if exposed to that infection when syphilis is present.

About one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years

have genital herpes.

NO VACCINE AVAILABLE
YOU CAN BECOME REINFECTED

Where you can get it:
Mouth, Penis, Anus, Vagina

HOW YOU GET IT

By having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease. Fluids found in a herpes sore carry the virus, and contact with those fluids can cause infection.

Symptoms in the second stage of Syphilis are:

  • Sores that usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, butt or mouth.
  • Blisters break and leave painful sores that may take weeks to heal.

SYMPTOMS

  • Sores that usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, butt or mouth.
  • Blisters break and leave painful sores that may take weeks to heal.

HOW WE TEST FOR IT

For testing, you’ll need to see your primary care doctor.

HOW IS TREATED

There’s no cure for herpes. However, there are medicines that can prevent or shorten outbreaks. One of these herpes medicines can be taken daily, and makes it less likely that you will pass the infection on to your sex partner(s).

THE LINK WITH HIV

Genital herpes can cause sores or breaks in the skin or lining of the mouth, vagina, and rectum. The genital sores caused by herpes can bleed easily. When the sores come into contact with the mouth, vagina, or rectum during sex, they increase the risk of giving or getting HIV if you or your partner has HIV. If you feel you have an STI, you should also be tested for HIV if you believe you’re HIV negative.

HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives.

A VACCINE IS AVAILABLE
The vaccine is recommended for any man who has sex with men through age 26

Where you can get it:
Mouth, Penis, Anus, Vagina

HOW YOU GET IT

By having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease. Fluids found in a herpes sore carry the virus, and contact with those fluids can cause infection.

SYMPTOMS

  • In most cases, HPV doesn’t have any symptoms, goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems.

    • Some people find out they have HPV when they get genital warts or even cancer

HOW WE TEST FOR IT

There is no test to find out a person’s “HPV status.” Also, there is no approved HPV test to find HPV in the mouth or throat.

HOW IS TREATED

There’s no treatment for the virus itself. However, there are treatments for the health problems that HPV can cause like genital warts. See your primary care doctor or an urgent care clinic if you think you have HPV.

THE LINK WITH HIV

People with weak immune systems (including individuals with HIV/AIDS) may be less able to fight off HPV and more likely to develop health problems from it.

THE MOST COMMON STI'S

Sexually Transmitted Infections or STI’s, are commonly diagnosed in the Orlando community – and a lot of people don’t know they have them. If you’re hooking up with multiple partners, or if the person you’re sleeping with has had multiple partners, the chances are high that you’ll likely contract and STI at some point while you’re sexually active. If you’re on PrEP, PrEP only works to protect against HIV – it doesn’t have your back at all for STIs. The most effective way to prevent contracting an STI is to use condoms correctly.

IS IT THE END OF THE WORLD?

It can be alarming, but not the end of the world. STI’s are typically much easier to contract that HIV, but in most cases, they’re highly treatable or curable. However, having an untreated STI can increase your chances of contracting HIV or transmitting HIV if you’re HIV positive. If you contract an STI because of barebacking or hooking up with multiple anonymous partners, thinking about how to prevent getting an STI again will also help decrease your chances of contracting or transmitting HIV, since the methods of transmission are often the same.

Here, you’ll find information about the most common STI’s, how you can get them, what symptoms you may see on you or the person you’re hooking up with, how you can get tested for them and what treatments and cures are available. We’ll also dive into how STIs open the door to HIV and how prevention or treatment of one may help prevent the other.