Solano County celebrates World AIDS Day
November 28, 2023
SOLANO COUNTY – The Solano County Health & Social Services Department, Public Health Division will join communities worldwide to observe World AIDS Day on December 1st by honoring those impacted by HIV and AIDS, celebrating advances made in preventing the spread of the HIV virus, and providing free HIV testing to the public. While certain populations are at higher risk for HIV, it can affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender or age.
Getting tested is the only way to know your status
More than 136,000 people are living with HIV in California. In Solano County, estimates of 1,400 HIV/AIDS cases have been reported as of 2021. Of individuals living with HIV, one in seven are unaware of their infection. While most people may experience flu-like symptoms within two to four weeks after infection, others may have no symptoms at all, so that testing is the only way to be certain if you have HIV. The virus can be transmitted through blood, semen, vaginal fluid, anal mucus and breastmilk, which may occur during unprotected sex, sharing needles to inject drugs, and pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the most severe stage known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This emphasizes the importance of everyone between 13 and 64 years of age getting tested for HIV at least once as a part of routine health care. It may be beneficial to get regularly tested for HIV if you are at higher risk for infection.
“HIV/AIDS is a disease that is highly stigmatized and there is still a lot of shame and fear to discuss it,” said Irene Summy, Communicable Disease Investigator Supervisor. “It is important that people are aware of their risks and the potential of contracting HIV, especially if they have previously tested positive for other sexually transmitted infections.”
Medications, such as PrEP and PEP, can help reduce exposure
In 2012, the Federal Drug Administration approved the use of HIV medication called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill that can protect individuals from contracting HIV. Studies on PrEP show that this treatment is highly effective in reducing HIV transmission when taken consistently. Similarly, Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a medication that must be taken within 72 hours of exposure. PrEP and PEP are not meant to replace other HIV prevention methods. Talk to your healthcare provider if PrEP or PEP is right for you.
Rock the ribbon and join the fight to end HIV transmission
Solano County’s HIV Prevention Program is partnering with community-based organizations and institutions to implement a county-wide HIV testing initiative, providing free and confidential rapid HIV testing, as well as condoms and lubricant to communities in Solano County through the mobile HIV van during community events commemorating World AIDS Day. Events are scheduled on Friday, December 1st in Fairfield from 10am – 1pm at the Solano County Health and Social Services building located at 275 Beck Avenue, and in Vallejo from 4pm – 8pm at the Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum located at 734 Marin Street. Schedule a free rapid HIV test on World AIDS Day by calling or texting the HIV Confidential Hotline at 707-398-8317.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Solano County’s Family Health Services (FHS) clinics provide treatment for HIV-positive individuals, preventive medication for PrEP, as well as assistance with enrollment within the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. The FHS clinics also offer walk-in screenings for other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea. For FHS clinic hours and locations, visit www.SolanoCounty.com/FHS.