How do I get tested for HIV?
Cobb & Douglas Public Health offers $20 walk-in opt-out testing for HIV in the Adult Health Clinic, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Please call 770-514-2380 for more information.
Cobb & Douglas Public Health also sponsors special free HIV testing events throughout the year at various public health centers and locations. You can check our website, Facebook page, Twitter or call 770-514-2815 for more information on HIV Prevention outreach and testing events.
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HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus that can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.
HIV damages a person’s body by destroying specific blood cells, called CD4+ T cells, which are crucial to helping the body fight diseases.
Within a few weeks of being infected with HIV, some people develop flu-like symptoms that last for a week or two, but others have no symptoms at all. People living with HIV may appear and feel healthy for several years. However, even if they feel healthy, HIV is still affecting their bodies. All people with HIV should be seen on a regular basis by a health care provider experienced with treating HIV infection. Many people with HIV, including those who feel healthy, can benefit greatly from current medications used to treat HIV infection. These medications can limit or slow down the destruction of the immune system, improve the health of people living with HIV, and may reduce their ability to transmit HIV.
Untreated early HIV infection is also associated with many diseases including cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, liver disease, and cancer. Support services are also available to many people with HIV. These services can help people cope with their diagnosis, reduce risk behavior, and find needed services.
AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection, when a person’s immune system is severely damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers. Before the development of certain medications, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Currently, people can live much longer – even decades – with HIV before they develop AIDS. This is because of “highly active” combinations of medications that were introduced in the mid 1990s.
No one should become complacent about HIV and AIDS. While current medications can dramatically improve the health of people living with HIV and slow progression from HIV infection to AIDS, existing treatments need to be taken daily for the rest of a person’s life, need to be carefully monitored, and come with costs and potential side effects. At this time, there is no cure for HIV infection. Despite major advances in diagnosing and treating HIV infection, in 2012, more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV infection, and almost one in six (15.8 percent) are unaware of their infection. The estimated incidence of HIV has remained stable overall in recent years, at about 50,000 new HIV infections per year. An estimated 15,529 people with an AIDS diagnosis died in 2010, and approximately 636,000 people in the United States with an AIDS diagnosis have died since the beginning of the epidemic.
If you would like to partner with Cobb and Douglas Public Health’s HIV prevention team to offer free HIV testing, and/or distribute educational materials at a health event, please call (770) 514-2432.
For more information on HIV/AIDS, please visit one of the following websites:
What is HIV/AIDS?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. You may hear that someone is HIV infected, has HIV infection, or has HIV disease. These are all terms that mean the person has HIV in his or her body and can pass the virus to other people.
AIDS is a late stage of HIV disease. When a person has AIDS their CD4 Count (measures the strength of the immune system) falls below 200.
How many cases exist in Georgia?
Georgia is currently the 5th leading state in HIV cases with a rate of 508 persons per 100,000 population. In 2012, there were 23,218 HIV Cases and 27,218 AIDS Cases in the state. Almost two-thirds (32,391/50,436 or 64 percent) of persons living with an HIV infection in 2012 resided in the Atlanta, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
How many cases of HIV/AIDS exist in Cobb and Douglas Counties?
In 2012, Georgia Department of Public Health reported that there were 2,969 cases of HIV and 1,565 cases of AIDS living in Cobb and Douglas Counties combined.
Among reported cases of newly diagnosed HIV infection (193) in Cobb and Douglas Counties:
- 80 percent are male
- 44 percent are African American
- 36 percent are between the ages of 20 – 29
Is the HIV rate going up, down or is it static from the rates reported several years ago?
Overall, crude rates have steadily increased over the years in Cobb and Douglas Counties and in Georgia with an estimated 193 newly diagnosed HIV cases in Cobb and Douglas counties in 2012.
Who is at risk for getting HIV?
Those at most risk are people who:
- Have “unprotected sex” with someone who has HIV. Unprotected sex means vaginal, anal, or oral sex without using a condom
- Share needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs, steroids, or even vitamins or medicine with someone who has HIV
- Work in health care and maintenance workers who may be exposed to blood and/or body fluids at work sometimes get infected through on-the-job exposures like needle-stick injuries
- Babies can potentially become infected during their mother’s pregnancy (if she is HIV+), during delivery, or immediately after birth. They can also become infected through breastfeeding
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly young black/African American MSM, are most seriously affected by HIV