HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. This is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV is different from most other viruses because it attacks the immune system. The immune system gives our bodies the ability to fight infections. HIV finds and destroys a type of white blood cell (T cells or CD4 cells) that the immune system must have to fight disease.
AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. It can take years for a person infected with HIV, even without treatment, to reach this stage. Having AIDS means that the virus has weakened the immune system to the point at which the body has a difficult time fighting infections. When someone has one or more of these infections and a low number of T cells, he or she has AIDS.
The Health Bureau provides free, confidential, and anonymous HIV-antibody testing, counseling, and partner notification. The Bureau also conducts education for high-risk individuals, general public, and health care providers. When a City resident is diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, a Community Health Nurse is assigned to follow-up with that individual to provide case management and support. Health Bureau nurses provide a holistic evaluation of the individual and a corresponding treatment plan.
Personal Health Services staff work with patients and the community to reduce the spread of HIV infection. Activities include:
- Conducting field visits and interview HIV/AIDS patients to determine the source of infection, verify treatment, and provide follow-up, prevention information and education.
- Providing HIV-antibody testing and counseling, CD4 and viral load tests.
- Providing counseling, partner notification, Mantoux testing, immunizations, and community service networking to those individuals testing HIV positive.
- Providing education/outreach to high-risk individuals, general public, and health care providers.
- Tracking HIV/AIDS morbidity in the City of York in conjunction with the PA Department of Health.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/hiv/ or call the Health Bureau at 717-849-2299.
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