What is HIV?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment. So once you get HIV, you have it for life.
For complete information regarding HIV, visit www.cdc.gov/hiv.
How does HIV affect the body?
HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system fight off infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body, making the person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers.
Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. These opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS, the last stage of HIV infection.
How is HIV treated?
No effective cure currently exists, but HIV can be controlled with proper medical care. The medicine used to treat HIV is called anti-retroviral therapy or ART. If taken the right way, every day, this medicine can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV, keep them healthy and greatly 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 live nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV. For more information about HIV treatment, visit www.hiv.gov.
Please see below for links and details about HIV-prevention medications.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a prescription medication regimen recently made available for people who are at substantial risk of getting HIV. PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. People who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and seeing their health care provider for follow-up every three (3) months.
If you are interested in discussing if a prescription for the pill (Truvada) is right for you, you can make an appointment at Student Health Services (SHS). You can see which healthcare providers at SHS are Aggie Ally certified, by clicking here and looking for the "Aggie Ally" badge next to their biography. Please note that two appointments may be required. The first appointment may be just for lab-work, in which your healthcare provider will check your kidney/liver function, and test for HIV. The second appointment will be a prescribing appointment.
Paying for PrEP Medication
PrEP (Truvada) is available on campus at the Student Health Services Pharmacy.
According to the CDC, if you’re prescribed post-exposure prophylaxis (PeP) medications and you cannot get insurance coverage (Medicaid, Medicare, private or employer-based), your health care provider can apply for free PeP medicines through medication assistance programs run by the manufacturers. Online applications can be faxed to the company, or some companies have special phone lines. These can be handled urgently in many cases to avoid a delay in getting medicine.
The cost of Truvada for PrEP depends on your insurance and financial needs. If your healthcare provider has already determined that Truvada for PrEP is right for you, whether you are insured, uninsured, or under-insured, the Advancing Access program through Truvada for PrEP's manufacturer is available to help you.
HIV/STI Testing and Support Services
Please see below for HIV/STI testing and support services.
Safer Sex Supplies
Safer sex kits and supplies available for all students during regular business hours (9:30am-5:00pm) at the GLBT Resource Center. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.