AIDS/HIV Information



Please Click HERE To See Resources Within The Greater Lehigh Valley and Berks County Community Specific to AIDS & HIV. Including testing sits and LGBT friendly healthcare providers.

The purpose of this page is provide general information on AIDS/ HIV. Please click on the Red Ribbon if you would like to be directed to AIDS.GOV.

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If you have further questions or if you cannot find what you are looking for,
call the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center Infoline at: 610-432-5449

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What Is HIV/ AIDS?

In the 1980’s the AIDS epidemic emerged within the United States. In the early years of the epidemic, AIDS was unknown and misunderstood, feared, untreatable, and often fatal. It was not till the virus HIV was discovered and linked to AIDS that a turning point occurred in AIDS history.

Click
HERE to see the timeline of AIDS/HIV History

Human immunodeficiency virus infection (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease spectrum of the human immune system cause by infection with HIV.

The term HIV/AIDS represents the entire range of the infection caused by the human immunodeficiency virus.

During the initial infection, a person may experience a brief period of influenza like illness. This is typically followed by a prolonged period without symptoms.

Click HERE for HIV/ AIDS Testing Centers in the Greater Lehigh Valley and Berks County.

As the illness progresses it interferes more and more with the immune system, making the person much more likely to get infections, including opportunistic infections and tumors. The late symptoms of the infection are referred to as AIDS.

HIV is transmitted primarily by unprotected sexual intercourse (including anal and vaginal sex), contaminated blood transfusions, hypodermic needles, and from mother to child during pregnancy, delivery, or breast-feeding.

HIV needs specific conditions to pass from one person to another. HIV only lives in certain body fluids, so for HIV to infect someone, they have to get infected blood, sperm, or in rarer cases vaginal fluids, in their bloodstream.

These body fluids
do not transmit HIV :
Saliva, Sweat, Skin Oils, Tears, Nasal Mucous, Urine, Feces, Vomit, Ear Wax --
Again please note that you CANNOT get HIV/AIDS from someone spitting on you, throwing up on you, or vomiting on you.

HIV dies outside the body. It can’t survive in open-air, and so it usually dead once it hits the air in a matter of moments. You cannot get AIDS/HIV from touching public surfaces, even if there are traces of blood or sperm or vaginal fluid on them.

You also CANNOT get HIV from:
Bug bites, animals bites, or scratches
Using public toilets, bathrooms, pools, or showers
Going to the gym, sharing exercise equipment
Touching public surfaces- like doorknobs, phones
Sharing food, drink, or dishes
Sneezing or coughing
Sharing items of clothing, bed linens, or towels
Kissing, hugging or touching
Masturbation
Sports
Basic aesthetic services (facials, nail care, hair cuts)
Sterile body art practices (sterile tattoos or piercings)
Professional health care (only if performed using universal precautions in place to avoid contamination)

Click HERE to learn more about HIV Transmission.


There is no cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS; however antiretroviral treatment can slow the course of the disease.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN RAPED OR HAVE ENGAGED IN A HIGH RISK SEXUAL ENCOUNTER AND YOU FEEL YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO HIV/AIDS AND ARE AT SIGNIFICANT RISK OF INFECTION -- YOU CAN IMMEDIATELY GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM AT LEHIGH VALLEY HOSPITAL** AND SEEK “PEP” TREATMENT THAT WILL SIGNIFICANTLY DIMINISH YOUR RISK OF CONTRACTING THE DISEASE. YOU MUST DO THIS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE -- IT IS BEST YOU SEEK TREATMENT WITHIN 48 HOURS OF EXPOSURE.

LEHIGH VALLEY HEALTH NETWORK HOSPITALS CAN PROVIDE THIS TREATMENT -- OTHERS HOSPITALS MAY NOT BE ABLE TO DO SO.

Prevention

HIV is preventable.

Choose less risky sexual behaviors, and limit your number of sex partners.

Use condoms consistently and correctly. You can receive free condoms at the following locations;

Planned Parenthood Allentown- 29 N 9th St, Allentown, PA (610) 439-1033

Planned Parenthood Reading- 48 S 4th St, Reading, PA (610) 376-8061


Use only clean and sterile needles, syringes, and other injection equipment. Use only new syringes that come from reliable sources (pharmacies and syringe service programs). Never share needles, syringes, or other injection works.

Get tested and treated for STDs and encourage your partners to do the same. If you are sexually active, get tested at least once a year. All STDs can have long-term health consequences, and they can also increase the chance of getting HIV or transmitting it to others.

Click HERE for local testing sites.

Click HERE to learn more about HIV Prevention.


Transmission Risk

The table below, from the Center of Disease Control (CDC), lists the risk of transmission per 10,000 exposures for various types of exposures. This data is from 2014.

This table is based on being exposed 10,000 times to some with HIV. From this data the following is suggested:

Out of 10,000 individuals exposed to blood transfusions containing HIV+ blood, 9,250 individuals are likely to become infected.

Out of 10,000 individuals exposed by needle-sharing during injection drug use with someone HIV+, 63 are likely to become infected.

Out of 10,000 individuals exposed to percutaneous (needle stick), 23 individuals are likely to become infected.

Out of 10,000 individuals who engage in receptive anal intercourse with someone HIV+, 138 are likely to become infected with HIV.

Out of 10,000 individuals who engage in insertive anal intercourse with someone HIV+, 11 are likely to become infected with HIV.

Out of 10,000 individuals who engage in receptive penile-vaginal intercourse with someone HIV+, 8 are likely to become infected with HIV.

Out of 10,000 individuals who engage in insertive penile-vaginal intercourse with someone HIV+, 4 are likely to become infected with HIV.


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From this chart we can conclude that Gay and Bisexual men who engage in anal sex and LGBT individuals who are intravenous drug (IV) users are the most at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS.


The Community and HIV/AIDS

The HIV/AIDS epidemics continues to have an impact on the LGBT community significantly. Gay and Bisexual men, Transgender people, youth ages 13-24, and communities of color are more at risk for infection. According to the CDC, there are over one million Americans currently living with HIV and approximately 50,000 new infections every year. Almost two-thirds of those new infections are among gay and bisexual men. Of the identified at-risk groups, only among gay and bisexual men is the rate of new infections increasing. Black men within this group have the highest rate of infection. Despite medical advances that have helped HIV- positive individuals live longer, healthier lives, there still remains no cure. Discrimination and lack of resources continue to make it difficult to fight the epidemic and provide the best care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

The negative stigma regarding HIV/AIDS and the LGBT community is often illustrated in the lack of comprehensive education in place, to teach youth in schools how to NOT get HIV/AIDS. Discrimination puts LGBT people at risk for infection and further oppresses individuals living with HIV. In most states in our Country (as well as at the federal level), there are little or no protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and other areas based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Within the LGBT community, racial and other forms of bias intensify the challenges already faced by this community. This creates potential consequences such as job loss, lack of access to healthcare, and homelessness, which can push individuals to engage in risky behaviors that increase their HIV risk and limit their ability to receive services once infected.

In Pennsylvania, there are 34 Municipalities that protect citizens based on sexual orientation and in most of those places gender identity, from employment, housing and public accommodation discrimination. Of the 15 largest cities in Pennsylvania, 12 have inclusive Non-discrimination Laws; including the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Reading.
Click Here, to view these towns, counties, and cities that have inclusive laws to protect people. These laws are intended to promote the wellbeing of the LGBT individuals and families as well as foster more diverse communities. Discrimination against people who are HIV/AIDS positive falls under the American Disabilities Act and is prohibited by state and federal law in every part of the United States.

NOTE: THE BRADBURY-SULLIVAN LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER -- WAS FORMERLY THE PENNSYLVANIA DIVERSITY NETWORK

The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Center (and formerly Pennsylvania Diversity Network) recognizes that the fight for LGBT equality is not over, which is why we are committed to fostering strength and vitality in the LGBT community by providing news information, advocacy, presentations, programs, events, and other services. This strongly includes working for equal rights and justice for the LGBT community. If you think you may have been discriminated against based on HIV/AIDS status or because your are LGBT you can call our LGBT infoline to learn where you can get help and support. 610-432-5449

Pennsylvania Diversity Network History of Involvement With the HIV/AIDS Community

Over the past 20 years, the leaders of the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Pennsylvania Diversity Network, and the Valley Gay Press have worked on and assisted the passage of 10 different pieces of municipal legislation that help support the HIV/AIDS LGBT Community.

PDN was, and now the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, is dedicated to training business groups and not-for-profit organizations on outreach and policy regarding LGBT people who are HIV-positive. In 2014 and 2015 the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center worked with Allentown Police force to train all officers on LGBT procedures that included HIV/AIDS+ information.

The Valley Gay Press, the organization’s newspaper, which has been published for over 18 years has included information in the past and continues to provide information relevant to HIV/AIDS issues.

Pennsylvania Diversity Network, and now the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, has partnered with FACT (Fighting AIDS Continuously Together) on many projects throughout the years.


HIV/AIDS+ Supportive Health Services &
Providers Within the Community

Clicking on the following will bring you to a section of the PDN resource index.

Alternative Health & Massage Therapy
Cosmetic Services
Dentists
Dermatology
Eye Care
General & Family Practice Physicians
Pediatricians
Podiatry
Transgender Health

References

“HIV/AIDS.” Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. 2014.

“HIV/AIDS BASICS.”
AIDS.GOV. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2014.

Patel P, Borkowf CB, Broos JT. Et al. Estimating per-act HIV transmission: a systematic review. AIDS. 2014.


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