HIV Prevention

Today, more tools than ever are available to prevent HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). HIV is transmitted by these five (5) body fluids (only): blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluids and breast milk. You can make plans, such as, not having sex, using condoms the right way every time you have sex, not sharing drug injection works (needles, syringes, etc.), and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to reduce the threat of getting HIV.

What is HIV? What is AIDS?

HIV:

  • HIV enters the body, damages the cells, which help fight infections (immune system), and uses these cells to make copies of itself.
  • Without the immune system's protection, the body struggles to fight serious and likely deadly diseases.
  • It is at this point, a person living with HIV may catch other diseases including AIDS.

AIDS:

  • AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the later stages of HIV.
  • AIDS occurs when a person's immune system is weak, because of HIV.
  • A healthcare provider can only confirm AIDS through lab tests and viewing the person's health.

How does a person get HIV?

HIV can be spread by:

  • Sex (anal, vaginal, oral),
  • Sharing drug injection tools, or works - needles, syringe, cotton ball, etc.,
  • Pregnant person to their baby before or during birth or by breastfeeding, and
  • Direct blood to blood contact.

Who should be tested for HIV? How much does it cost? Are there free or low cost testing and/or treatment for a STI?

  • Ages 13-64 - At least once in the life time.
  • During pregnancy.
  • All persons who have a higher threat of getting HIV.
    • Men who have condom less sex with other men,
    • Persons who have:
      • Condom less sex with more than one person,
      • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI),
      • Condom less sex with a person:
        • Living with HIV (PLWH),
        • HIV status is not known,
    • Persons who share needles or piercing tools, and
    • Persons who have been exposed to the blood, semen, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids and/or breast milk of someone who may be living with HIV.

The HIV Prevention Program provides support to some testing sites in New Hampshire. There may be a small fee for the testing services.

All clients receive:

  • Private testing,

  • Resources, and

  • Referrals for medical and social services.

For testing services, people should see their healthcare provider, visit a local community health center, or one of the DPHS Partner Agencies who offer STI testing and treatment.

CDC recommends everyone ages 13-64 be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime, by their healthcare provider.

In an emergency, clients need to go directly to the nearest urgent care center or hospital ER.

What happens if my HIV test result is positive?

The largest Federal program was set up to provide HIV treatment through the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act of 1990.

The NH Ryan White CARE Program focuses only on persons living with HIV and/or AIDS and provides services including:

  • Medical and dental care,
  • Insurance premiums and co-pays,
  • Prescription assistance, and
  • Travel to/from appointments.

Reduce the risk of getting HIV.

If you have sex:

  • Limit the number of sex partners you have,
  • Know your sex partners' sexual health history,
  • Get tested for HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs),
  • Use condoms every time you have sex and use them correctly, and
  • Find out if Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, is an option for you.

If you inject drugs:

  • Never share needles, syringes or works,
  • Use only unused needles, syringes or works, and
  • Find out where you can get unused syringes and needles.

If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant:

  • Get tested for HIV and other STIs,
  • Begin medicine to reduce the risk of passing HIV to the unborn child, and
  • Do not breastfeed.

It is recommended everyone ages 13-64 be tested at least once in their lifetime.

If any of the categories above apply to you, you may need to be tested more often. Visit with your healthcare provider about how often you should be tested.

Aging with HIV

Today, there are many advances in treatment with HIV medicine. People living with HIV who are diagnosed early and get and stay on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) can prevent the virus from making copies of itself and live long and healthy lives.

Living with HIV presents certain challenges; however, as you age, greater social isolation and loneliness can occur. Healthcare access, HIV care, mental health and other support services can to help you stay healthy. You can find support services through your health care provider, your local community center, or an HIV service organization.

Aging with HIV | HIV.gov

HIV by Age | HIV by Group | HIV/AIDS | CDC

HIV Care Aging

How can a person get involved in HIV efforts in New Hampshire?

A couple of ways any person, clinical or general public, who wishes to join HIV efforts in NH can act is by joining the HIV Planning Group or the Medical Advisory Board.

NH HIV Planning Group (HPG)

The HPG was formed in 1994, to bring together agencies working in the HIV arena, as well as community members and support service agencies. The HPG is required by Federal funding for the state HIV/AIDS program funding. These meetings are open to the public.

The HPG meets quarterly and provides the following items:

  • Education about HIV/AIDS and topics impacting persons affected by HIV/AIDS,
  • Review policies and program concerns and how to improve/change these,
  • Input to prepare the HIV Integrated Plan (every 5 years and includes, but is not limited to, HIV prevention and care efforts),
  • A voice for People Living with HIV and those affected by HIV/AIDS to improve program efforts by sharing first hand experiences, and
  • Network with people and agencies, as well as identify new people and agencies to improve efforts in New Hampshire.

NH Ryan White CARE Program Medical Advisory Board (MAB)

The MAB is a committee of the HPG, and meets every three months to talk about any policy or program concerns and how they impact HIV services for NH Ryan White CARE Program clients statewide.

If you would like more information or would like to join these efforts, go to the NH HIV Planning Group website.

Information Icon

NH HIV/STI Data Reports

NH HIV/STI Data Reports

The NH HIV Planning Group new website!

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis):

  • Medicine for HIV-negative people who are vulnerable to getting HIV, including people who inject drugs
  • Option for daily pill or bi-monthly injection
  • Up to 99% effective at preventing HIV when taken as prescribed
  • FDA-approved and recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Free and discounted payment programs available

Granite State PrEP Connect - Your connection to all things PrEP in New Hampshire

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

if something happens to your plans and you think you have been exposed to HIV, immediately contact a healthcare provider and get Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) which can reduce the threat of getting HIV.

  • PEP must be started as soon as possible to be effective
  • Always within 72 hours of a possible exposure.

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) | HIV Risk and Prevention | HIV/AIDS | CDC