What is HIV?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks the cells in your immune system that help fight infection. When these cells are destroyed, your body can’t protect against infections and certain cancers. Without treatment, HIV can slowly destroy the immune system and progress to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
Who can get HIV?
Anyone can get HIV, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, relationship status, or sexual orientation. If you are sexually active or use injection drugs, you can get HIV. You and your sex partners can protect each other through regular HIV/STI testing, and by using condoms or other prevention options like PrEP.
How is HIV spread?
HIV can be spread through body fluids during sex. It can also be spread by using injection drugs. HIV is spread through blood, sexual fluid (semen, pre-seminal fluids, vaginal fluid, rectal fluid), and breast milk.
You cannot get HIV by kissing, hugging, touching, shaking hands, sharing food/drinks, or using public toilets.
A person living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV through sex. An undetectable viral load means that a person has an extremely low amount of the virus in their blood. HIV treatment medications make it possible to have an undetectable viral load.
There are HIV testing locations throughout the state, including local clinics, public health departments, and your health care provider. Home testing is also available.
Protect yourself and your partners from getting HIV through safe sex practices. Get PrEP (a daily pill or periodic injection that prevents the person taking it from getting HIV) and free condoms.
Treatment support is available to anyone in Oregon who tests positive for HIV. When HIV is managed with daily medicine, you can live a happy, healthy, sexually active life. Knowing your status protects your health and the health of your sex partners.
HIV continues to be a public health challenge in Oregon. We are focused on ending new HIV/STI infections by using a whole-person lens, and by working toward racial and ethnic equity. We cannot end new HIV/STI transmissions without ending inequities and addressing structural factors that keep some people more vulnerable than others.