HIV is a preventable disease. Practicing safer sex can reduce the risk of HIV transmission. For those infected with HIV, effective drug therapies are now available that help prolong life.
The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness has established an HIV prevention program consisting of two components:
- Patient services including confidential and anonymous testing, and counseling
- Linkage to care for persons who test positive for the HIV virus
Our staff offers prevention case management services and workshops about reducing the risk of HIV transmission. The department includes special emphasis programs for injection drug users, sex trade workers, African Americans, Hispanics and members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. We also conduct field and Internet outreach, as well as distributing free condoms and other safer sex supplies to Louisville residents.
We work with the Kentuckiana Aids Alliance to link those affected by HIV/AIDS to testing, support and treatment.
HIV (the Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is only transmitted by blood, semen (including pre-ejaculate), vaginal secretions or breast milk. One of those four bodily fluids from someone who is HIV positive must enter your blood stream for you to become infected. The safest way to protect yourself is to practice abstinence and not sharing needles if you inject. Putting a barrier (such as a condom, glove or dental dam) between you and your sexual partner’s bodily fluids (those mentioned above) can reduce your risk for becoming infected. Other prevention strategies you might consider which may help reduce your risk include educating yourself about HIV/AIDS and other STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), getting tested for HIV and other STDs, encouraging your sexual partner(s) to get tested as well, and being prepared by having prevention supplies readily accessible. Learn more about HIV here.
AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a result of HIV infection. By the time people with HIV develop AIDS, the virus has damaged their immune systems. The good news is that HIV/AIDS is treatable if diagnosed early and the patient remains in care. Many people live long healthy life with treatment. Unfortunately the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that 1 in 5 Americans are living with HIV and are unaware that they are infected. The key is knowing your status and getting into care if you are infected. Find a testing site here.
If you are concerned about other STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases), you can be evaluated at our Specialty Clinic. The Specialty Clinic diagnoses, treats and educates patients with gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and other STDs.
For additional information and to learn more, call us at (502) 574-5600. The CDC also has trained counselors available 24 hours a day to answer questions about HIV/AIDS or STDs at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).
As a component of their HIV prevention strategy, the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness has established a methadone maintenance clinic to reach opiate addicted intravenous drug users. The LMPHW is the only health department in the state funded by the state’s Division of Substance Abuse for the treatment of opiate addiction.