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For known HIV exposure, call the Nurse Advice Line (512) 475-6877 (NURS) immediately to be evaluated for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP is only effective within the first 72 hours after exposure.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a viral infection that can progress to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) if left untreated. HIV can be transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or breast milk of an HIV-infected person. Recent advances in antiretroviral therapies (ART) mean that people with HIV today can control the effects virus and live long, healthy lives. Approximately 1.1 million people in the United States currently live with HIV.

Common Symptoms

HIV/AIDS progresses in three stages, not all of which cause symptoms.

Acute HIV infection occurs 2-4 weeks after you have been infected with HIV. Some people develop flu-like symptoms, but others do not.

Clinical latency is the period of time following acute HIV infection. Many people do not experience symptoms at this time, although the virus is continuing to replicate in the body. Consistent use of ART helps slow this rate of replication, allowing people to stay in the clinical latency stage for decades.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the third stage of an HIV infection. In this stage, the virus progresses into AIDS and people are highly vulnerable to opportunistic infections and viruses. This phase is marked by flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph glands, and weight loss. Those who have developed AIDS are at an increased risk of death from opportunistic illnesses.

Prevention and Treatment

If you are sexually active, syphilis can be prevented by using condoms and dental dams correctly and consistently.

A simple blood test can determine if you have HIV. This blood test can detect HIV as early as the acute infection stage. If you test positive for HIV, you can manage the virus with ART. Because of the unfair stigma attached to being HIV positive, a number of community support groups exist throughout Austin.

If you are sexually active, it is important that you get tested regularly for STIs including HIV, even if you do not have any symptoms.

What About PrEP?

Along with safer sex practices, a prescription of Truvada (a pre-exposure prophylaxis known as PReP) can help significantly lower your risk of being infected with HIV. Truvada is a pill that must be taken daily for full protective benefits.

You can get a prescription for Truvada at UHS. Call 512-471-4955 or go online to make an appointment, and make sure to mention that you’re interested in a Truvada prescription so that you’ll be scheduled correctly. You can read more about getting PrEP at UHS here.

Partner Notification

If you test positive for HIV, it is important that you notify previous sexual partners so that they can get tested, too. UHS staff can talk you through the partner notification process. UHS also offers resources online to help you talk to your partner about getting tested and seeking treatment.

You can get tested for HIV and all other STIs at University Health Services. Call (512) 471-4955 or go online to make an appointment. Currently enrolled students are eligible to apply for free STI testing at UHS with the Get Yourself Tested Fund.

Other Sexually Transmitted Infections

Hepatitis B
Sexually Transmitted Infections

Healthy Sexuality Links

Healthy Sexuality Topics
Classes and Workshops
Get Free or Low-Cost Condoms
Safer Sex Ambassadors
Contraception for College Students Video Series
Men's Sexual Health
Off-Campus STI / HIV testing locations
Sexual Anatomy
Sexually Transmitted Infections
UHS STI Testing
UHS Sexual Assault Forensic Exams
UHS Women's Health
UHS Lending Library

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