HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment. So once you get HIV, you have it for life. See Frequently Asked Questions about HIV.
It is important for your physical and mental health to remain emotionally and physically strong.
Finding an infectious disease doctor with HIV experience is helpful in getting good treatment and follow-up. You can work with your doctor to develop and follow plans specific to your health needs and lifestyle.
There are also many support groups, both on the Internet and within community-based organizations, which can give you the emotional support you need to fight through the bad days and celebrate the good days.
Discussing your diagnosis with family and friends may be difficult, but you may be surprised to find out just how much love and support they have to offer. Sometimes it's as simple as giving a hug and saying they still love you and want you in their lives. Sometimes it's as much as taking an active role in your care and reminding you every day to take your pills.
Adherence is the key to doing well with your medications. If a person is willing to take their medications as prescribed every day, then they're more likely to keep the viral levels down in their body and have a more successful therapy.
Any time anybody slips up - and people do slip up - they need to know it's not the end of the world. It is important to discuss medication issues with your doctor to help determine the best options for you and your daily activities.
Not everybody will experience the same side effects from the same medication. Not everybody will experience side effects at all. It is important to work closely with your doctor to make sure the medications you take are the best ones for your body. Unfortunately, the trial and error process can be difficult and painful at times. However, once the right combination is found, adherence becomes easier and the infection can stay under control.
Resources for Positive Living
All pregnant women should be tested for HIV, because HIV can be transmitted from an HIV-positive mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, or while breastfeeding. There is about a 25% chance of transmitting HIV to the baby during pregnancy or delivery without intervention. However, medical intervention, including anti-retroviral therapy, can reduce transmission, resulting in the delivery of a healthy, HIV-negative baby. Visit The Body for more information on pregnancy and HIV.
To reduce HIV transmission in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all pregnant women:
- Receive prenatal care.
- Be screened for HIV during the first and third trimester. If this has not happened, or results are not available, they should be offered routine voluntary HIV testing at labor and delivery.
- If HIV positive, the mother should be offered combination anti-retrovirals prenatally, as well as obstetrical interventions at delivery and anti-retroviral prophylaxis for their newborn.
- For women not tested prenatally or during labor/delivery, HIV testing should be made available for the mother and her newborn in order to offer HIV prophylaxis as soon as possible to preserve the health of the infant.
The Maricopa County HIV Surveillance Program works to ensure that all cases of HIV and AIDS found in Maricopa County are accurately documented and reported to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), per Arizona Revised Statute 36-133. Data gathered from the Surveillance Program is used by ADHS and the CDC to determine the incidence (the number of new infections) and prevalence (the total number of infections) of HIV and AIDS in Maricopa County. This information is used to determine how much funding the County should receive to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS locally.
The MCDPH Surveillance Program works with providers throughout Maricopa County, investigating reported cases of HIV or AIDS and helping providers and staff to complete the mandatory HARS (HIV/AIDS Reporting System) form. This form is processed by the Arizona Department of Health Services and data is submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for statistical reporting.
Report a Case of HIV or AIDS
HIV/AIDS is a communicable disease which medical providers are required by law to report to the Public Health Department. If you are a medical provider and need to report a case of HIV/AIDS, please download the Communicable Disease Reporting Form (PDF), complete it, and fax to 602-372-6035. Reports can also be mailed to the HIV Surveillance Program at:
1645 E Roosevelt Street
Phoenix, AZ 85006
For surveillance questions, please contact our office at 602-506-2934.
The Case is Reported. Now What?
Once a case has been received, a Surveillance Investigator will contact your medical records office to set up an appointment for a chart review. The Investigator will review the medical chart and complete the required documentation based on information provided in the chart. Charts will not be removed from your records office, but the Investigator may be required to make copies of certain documentation provided within to substantiate the report of the disease or a co-morbidity. All information received remains confidential and is only submitted to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
HIV/AIDS Reporting & HIPAA
Under Arizona Administrative Code (AAC) R9-6-202, 203, 204, and 205 (PDF), a health care provider, an administrator of a health care facility or correctional facility, an administrator of a school, child care establishment, or shelter, or their authorized representatives shall submit a communicable disease report to the local health agency. HIPAA Privacy Rule expressly permits disclosures without individual authorization to public health authorities authorized by law to collect or receive the information for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury, or disability, including but not limited to public health surveillance, investigation, and intervention.