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UHPP received a grant through the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute to provide free HIV and Hepatitis C testing to all patients regardless of insurance status.

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What is HIV? 

HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. It damages your immune system, making it easier for you to get sick. HIV is spread during sex, but condoms can help protect you.

How do you get HIV?

HIV is carried in semen (cum), vaginal fluids, anal mucus, blood, and breast milk. The virus gets in your body through cuts or sores in your skin, and through mucous membranes (like the inside of the vagina, rectum, and opening of the penis). You can get HIV from:

  • having vaginal or anal sex
  • sharing needles or syringes for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
  • getting stuck with a needle that has HIV-infected blood on it
  • getting HIV-infected blood, semen (cum), or vaginal fluids into open cuts or sores on your body

HIV is usually spread through having unprotected sex. Using condomsand/or dental dams every time you have sex and not sharing needles can help protect you and your partners from HIV. If you do have HIV, treatment can lower or even stop the chances of spreading the virus to other people during sex. If you don’t have HIV, there’s also a daily medicine called PrEP that can protect you from HIV.

HIV can also be passed to babies during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. A pregnant woman with HIV can take medicine to greatly reduce the chance that her baby will get HIV.

HIV isn’t spread through saliva (spit), so you CAN’T get HIV from kissing, sharing food or drinks, or using the same fork or spoon. HIV is also not spread through hugging, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing. And you can’t get HIV from a toilet seat.

What is Hep C?

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to serious liver damage. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) spreads through contaminated blood.

What are the symptoms?

Long-term infection with the hepatitis C virus is known as chronic hepatitis C. Chronic hepatitis C is usually a "silent" infection for many years, until the virus damages the liver enough to cause the signs and symptoms of liver disease.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Bleeding easily
  • Bruising easily
  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Itchy skin
  • Fluid buildup in your abdomen (ascites)
  • Swelling in your legs
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech (hepatic encephalopathy)
  • Spiderlike blood vessels on your skin (spider angiomas)