HIV and AIDS Information

This information is provided for students to find assistance with either learning about HIV or AIDS, and how to get tested. It is not a substitute for expert medical knowledge. Students are encouraged to seek medical assistance to learn more about HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and mental health support.

If you are experiencing a health related emergency, please call 9-1-1, LWTech Campus Public Safety at (425) 739-8224, or the 24-hour crisis line at (866) 427-4747, if you are on campus.

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the immune system, causing deficiency or damage in the immune system. HIV damages the body's ability to fight diseases and infections. According to the Washington Department of Health, HIV is spread primarily by:

  • Not using a condom when having sex with a person who has HIV. All unprotected sex with someone who has HIV contains some risk. However:
    • Unprotected anal sex is riskier than unprotected vaginal sex.
    • Among men who have sex with other men, unprotected receptive anal sex is riskier than unprotected insertive anal sex.
  • Having multiple sex partners or the presence of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can increase the risk of infection during sex. Unprotected oral sex can also be a risk for HIV transmission, but it is a much lower risk than anal or vaginal sex.
  • Sharing needles, syringes, rinse water, or other equipment used to prepare illicit drugs for injection.
  • Being born to an infected mother—HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breast-feeding.
The Aquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrom (AIDS) is a disagnosis made by the medical professional after testing. AIDS is the more advanced form of HIV. It is a complex condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which damages the immune system and affects the body's ability to fight infection and disease, according information from the Washington Department of Heath. 

This information is provided through King County webpage on public health.

  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV) 
    One of the most common vaginal infections. It occurs when the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted.
  • Chlamydia 
    A common STD that can infect both men and women. It can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system, making it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later on. Chlamydia can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb).
  • Condoms and lube 
    Condoms and other barriers, when used consistently and correctly, greatly reduce the risk of HIV and other STDs. Most condom failures result from incorrect use of the condom, not because the condom itself was faulty.
  • Genital herpes 
    Most people who have genital herpes do not know they have it. Symptoms include painful genital ulcers that can be severe and persistent in persons with suppressed immune systems, such as HIV-infected persons.
  • Gonorrhea 
    Gonorrhea infects the mucous membranes of the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes in women, and the urethra in women and men. It can also infect the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, eyes, and rectum.
  • Hepatitis A, B, and C 
    Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver and is often caused by a virus. Learn more about the different types of hepatitis.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 
    HPV is the most common STD in the United States. There are over 40 different types of HPV. HPV can infect the genital area, mouth and throat of males and females.
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) 
    PID is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs.
  • Syphilis 
    Syphilis is a curable condition that can cause long-term complications if not treated correctly. The painless syphilis sore that you would get after you are first infected can be confused for an ingrown hair, zipper cut, or other seemingly harmless bump.
  • Trichomoniasis 
    Trichomoniasis (or "trich") is a very common and curable STD. About 70% of infected people do not have any signs or symptoms. When trichomoniasis does cause symptoms, they can range from mild irritation to severe inflammation.

It is important for you, if living with HIV, to be aware that you have an increased risk for developing mood, anxiety, and cognitive disorders. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, people living with HIV are twice as likely to have depression compared to those who are not infected with HIV. These conditions may be treatable. Many people with mental health conditions recover completely.

Stress indicators possibly contributing to mental health problems for people living with HIV include:

  • Having trouble getting needed services
  • Experiencing a loss of social support, resulting in isolation
  • Experiencing a loss of employment or worries about whether you will be able to perform your work as you did before
  • Having to tell others you are HIV-positive
  • Managing your HIV medicines
  • Going through changes in your physical appearance or abilities due to HIV/AIDS
  • Dealing with loss, including the loss of relationships or even death
  • Facing the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS

For support, contact the LWTech Conseling Center. Students may call (425) 739-8300.

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