It’s World AIDS Day - here’s what you should know about the condition

WTAP News @ 11
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 10:40 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - This Wednesday is World AIDS Day so WTAP caught up with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department’s clinical director to learn more about the condition.

Let’s start with the basics. AIDS and HIV are different. According to the CDC, HIV is a virus that attacks your immune system. It’s also the virus that leads to AIDS if untreated, which stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

The most common way it spreads is through sex and IV drug use. While it used to be a death sentence, thanks to medical advancements, that’s no longer the case. In fact, the MOV Health Department’s Rebecca Eaton says, with the right treatment, you can live a healthy, normal life. In fact, there is medication, that if taken correctly, can make it so you can’t spread the virus. That is, however, if you stay on the meds and don’t miss a dose.

Still, one thing that hasn’t changed is that it’s a condition you can have for years without showing any symptoms.

Eaton said, “When we first found out about AIDS, it was presenting as AIDS, the last stage, because nobody knew that they had the virus.”

Eaton says everyone should get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime, especially if you’ve gotten a blood transfusion or are in a high-risk situation such as using IV drugs or having sex with people you don’t know well.

The MOV Health Department has testing opportunities every Monday and Thursday. Scheduling an appointment in advance is required.

A heads up that it can take two to eight weeks and, in some rare cases, six months after you get HIV for it to show up on a test.

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