Ryan White, an Indiana teenager whose courageous struggle with HIV/AIDS helped educate the nation about AIDS-related discrimination. In 1990, The Federal Ryan White Program was enacted to improve the quality and availability of care for low-income, uninsured, and underinsured individuals and families affected by HIV disease-those hit hardest by the epidemic.
Maricopa County's Ryan White programs increase access to care for women and children and improve the quality of life for those affected by the epidemic. Learn more about Maricopa County's Ryan White programs and HIV-related issues.Information on How to Get Informed:
Are You Eligible to Get Tested?
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends that all people between the ages of 13 and 65 be tested for HIV on an annual basis. Some community testing sites require that you be "high risk" in order to receive HIV counseling and testing services. If you are turned away from testing due to your "risk" level, remember that you may request a test from your healthcare provider. You may also call other testing sites to see if they will test you.
Older adults have similar HIV risks to younger adults, and the CDC estimates that half of those living with HIV in the U.S. are age 50 or older. One in every 6 new HIV infections is in someone over the age of 50. Yet, many healthcare providers don't discuss sexual health issues with their older patients. The way we all think about sexual health changes as we age. Providers may miss their opportunity to talk about sexuality, HIV, and STI's, while some older adults may not even know they're still at risk.
Talk about it:
Begin open communication with your medical provider about your sexual history. this might feel uncomfortable at first, but talking about it can be the first step in staying healthy, for both you and your partner(s). Conversations will get less awkward with time and practice.
Make HIV testing a routine part of your medical care, much like checking your blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Talk to others about getting tested, too, and discuss your HIV status with your partner(s).
Learn how to protect yourself:
Using a condom with lubricant is a good idea at any age. When used properly, they can be very effective at preventing transmission of HIV or other STIs. If you or your partner is HIV positive, getting on and staying on HIV treatment will reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to others.
Get up to date on HIV testing and condom use by visiting: How do I protect myself and my partner(s)
Dating can be tough. If you're living with HIV, dating may feel stressful or even scary. You might be worried about being rejected because of your status. Or, you may wonder if you can have a sexual relationship again. HIV doesn't have to mean giving up on intimacy and relationships, but it might change how you date.
Be Patient with Yourself. There's no perfect way to start or continue dating with HIV. At first, you may feel like your identity is all about being positive. But, it's important to know that it's only one part of your life. Waiting until you feel ready and comfortable is completely reasonable.
Talk to each other. Good communication is key in any type of relationship. Speak openly, and listen to each other's thoughts and feelings. You might not always agree, but you can respect and support each other, and compromise.
Don't force disclosure. Disclosing your HIV-positive status to your partner is very personal. It's important to talk about HIV and safer sex so that you both can make informed choices and minimize risks. But, make sure you're ready. Choose a time and place that feels safe and secure for both of you. To learn more about protecting yourself and your partner, visit: Prevention For Couples
Newly Diagnosed - Linkage To Care
If you've been diagnosed with HIV, you probably have a lot of questions. You might be wondering, "What do I do now? What's the next step?"
Getting into HIV care is an important first step. Finding a provider that specializes in HIV can help you stay healthy. Your provider will work with you to monitor your health, and set up a treatment plan that works best for you.
"But, where can I find services I need?"
You might be referred to HIV care from your primary care provider, or from your HIV testing facility. But if not, there are other ways to search for what you need. Visit HIV Services for information about HIV services like:
Mental health care
And much more
You don't have to navigate the system alone! Linking into HIV care can keep you on the right path to health.
"PrEP" stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. PrEP is a way for people who don't have HIV but who are at very high risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill contains two medicines that are also used to treat HIV. If you take PrEP and are exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from taking hold in your body. PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. But people who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and seeing their health care provider for follow-up every 3 months.
In this video, Todrick Hall clears up some common myths about how HIV is passed, and he encourages you to go get tested. Do you know your status?
Zachary Drucker talks about how condoms and PrEP can be used together to prevent passing HIV to others. HIV shouldn’t stand in the way of love!
Several organizations have support groups for HIV infected and affected individuals and their families. These support groups are even further differentiated by more defined groupings, such as women, minority women, families of infected or exposed children, youth who have been perinatally infected, and others. For more information on support groups contact:
- The Bill Holt Infectious Diseases Clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital for family and youth groups; and
- The Family Advocate, Lorraine Brown for women’s educational groups and more information on various support groups. There is a women's support group that meets weekly at McDowell Clinic. The McDowell Women’s Group meets every Thursday from 9:30am – 11:30am at the McDowell Healthcare Center, 1101 North Central, Phoenix. Breakfast is provided with guest speakers and activities, all McDowell women only are welcome.