What is AIDS and HIV?

The virus that causes AIDS is called the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Having HIV is not the same as having AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. AIDS is a life-threatening condition caused by HIV. HIV primarily infects white blood cells that are associated with the immune system. HIV is transmitted by semen and pre-ejaculatory fluid, blood and blood products, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.

Symptoms

Normally there are no symptoms in the early stages of HIV infection. When symptoms do develop, they are usually similar to common minor illness such as the flu, except they last longer and are more severe. Persistent tiredness, unexplained fevers, recurring night sweats, prolonged enlargement of the lymph nodes and weight loss are common.

HIV antibody test

The tests that are available indicate whether someone has the antibodies in response to the presence of HIV. If the tests are confirmed positive, then the person tested has antibodies to HIV and is considered to have HIV infection. If the test is negative, no antibodies are present. It can take up to 6 months after an individual has been exposed to the virus for it to show up in a lab test. So you may have to get tested a few months later to be sure that the lab results are accurate.

Get Tested

Each semester, the Health & Wellness Center brings an local organization onto campus to provide fee-free and confidential HIV testing for our students.  This usually occurs during the World AIDS Day season (December-Fall Semester) and the Spring Break season (April-Spring Semester).  

HIV/AIDS testing is also available at the Health & Wellness Center throughout the academic year.  To schedule an appointment for testing please contact the Health & Wellness Center at (925) 631.4254.

Contact a health care professional at the Health and Wellness Center or Counseling Center for more information and advice.

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Saint Mary's College of California
1928 Saint Mary's Road
Moraga, CA 94575
(925) 631-4000
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