Tuesday , June 10, 2014 - 12:00 AM
OGDEN - Utah has experienced an increase in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in recent years with 110 newly diagnosed cases in 2012.
Dung Banh, HIV program manager and registered nurse at the Weber-Morgan Health Department said 90 of the cases were men and 20 were women.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 50,000 new HIV infections were detected each year in the U.S. since the mid 1900s. One in five people don't know they are infected.
As part of National HIV Testing Day, WMHD is offering free testing at its downtown clinic, 477 23rd Street on June 18, in an effort to encourage at-risk individuals to receive testing and counseling in hopes of curtailing the spread of the disease. Testing will be done from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Results can be obtained in as little as 20 minutes. Davis County Health Department will offer free testing on June 27 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Midtown Community Health Center-Davis County Medical Clinic, 22 South State Street, Suite 1007 C in Clearfield
HIV infection is diagnosed by blood tests that detect antibodies against this virus. These antibodies usually appear in the blood of an infected person between six weeks and six months after infection with the virus, Banh said. Therefore, a very recent infection may not produce enough antibodies to be detected, so retesting is recommended in three to six months later.
"A blood test can detect HIV antibodies in an infected person," Banh said. "If you suspect you may be at risk of being infected with HIV, a rapid HIV test can be performed by a health care provider and the result is available in 15 to 20 minutes. The person performing this test will prick your finger and take a drop of blood to initiate the test."
HIV is transmitted from one person to another by exposure to blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or breast milk of an infected person, Banh said. HIV is mainly spread by sexual contact and sharing of syringes or needles with someone who has HIV. HIV can also pass from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. HIV cannot be passed by casual contacts such as hand shaking, hugging, casual kiss, or sharing dishes. The virus is not transmitted by sweat, tears, or saliva. People infected with the virus do not have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) until they develop serious symptoms or other major infections due to the body's weakened immune system.
"A person who is infected with HIV may develop flu-like illness within a month or two after exposure to the virus. This illness may include fever, headache, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes, or a rash," Banh said. "These symptoms will then disappear, so they are often misapprehended for other viral infections. Many people with HIV many not experience any signs of illness for months or years until the development of AIDS-related symptoms."
If a person tests positive on a screening test for HIV antibody, a confirmatory test is performed. A positive result from the immunoassay test confirms a diagnosis of HIV infection, and the person is referred to counseling, follow-up tests, and treatments.
"One in five people with HIV do not know that they are infected. That is why the CDC recommends anyone between the age of 13 to 64 get tested for HIV once, and those with higher risks continue to get tested periodically," Banh said.
Those at higher risk for becoming infected with HIV include men having sex with other men, bisexual relationships, multiple sex partners, unprotected sex and those who inject drugs, especially if they share needles.
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