Understanding what it means to be sexually healthy is important for everyone, no matter what the sexual orientation. The Wellness Connection can provide reliable, accurate information and education on sexual health. Peer Educators can also provide a group or organization with presentations on sexual health topics.
The Wellness Connection can provide information that covers a wide variety of sexual health areas. These include:
- Sexual assault prevention
- Responsible decision making
- Healthy relationships
- Condom Sense program
- Free HIV testing
- And more!
Shakeela Rogers, BGSU Student and Wellness Connection Intern, asks Danielle Van Fleet, UT Health Science staff member, questions in order to addresses the difference between HIV and AIDS, myths regarding HIV, how often to get tested, the process after testing positive, and more.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks specific white blood cells (CD4+ T cells) in the immune system, which depresses the immune system (hence, "immunodeficiency") so that it cannot function properly.
AIDS - Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
AIDS is a syndrome, which means it is comprised of many factors, and is identified by a health care provider when a person living with HIV (who is "HIV positive") has at least one of the following:
- A CD4+ T cell count of less than 200 cells/mm3 (normal is between 800 and 1200 cells/mm3)
- One of many AIDS-defining conditions, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1993.
- Most of these conditions are "opportunistic pathogens," which means that they typically do not affect those with healthy immune systems. They have the opportunity to become pathogens in those with compromised immune systems, like people living with HIV.
- See a list of the AIDS-defining conditions.
How does HIV Spread By?
HIV is spread by three main behaviors.
- Unprotected sexual activity (oral, vaginal and anal sex)
- Injection drug use (sharing needles and other items used during drug use)
- Vertical transmission (from mother to child either during the actual birthing process or breastfeeding)
Four main body fluids can carry HIV.
- Vaginal Secretions
- Breast Milk
Also, synovial joint fluid and brain and spinal fluid (most people do not come into contact with these three fluids)
The window period is the time it takes for a person to produce detectable antibodies to HIV after transmitting HIV.
- This can take up to six months after transmitting HIV
- Most people produce detectable antibodies within three months after infection
Some may take up to six months. The Wellness Connection uses a "6-month window period". This means if a person is within the 6-month window period, she/he could receive a negative HIV test result, but really be positive because their body has not produced detectable antibodies. Therefore, it is advisable that the person comes back to get re-tested outside of the 6-month window period.
Websites with More Information
- Wellness Connection
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HIV/AIDS Prevention page
- American Sexual Health Association
- Smarter Sex
- Kaiser Family Foundation (policy information and daily HIV/AIDS reports)
- The Body
AIDS Info Health Specialist: 800.448.0440
CDC Info: 800.232.4636
CDC National Prevention Information: 800.458.5231
Learn how you can protect yourself by reducing your risk of developing a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD).
The surest way to avoid STDs is to not have sex. This means not having vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Using a condom correctly every time you have sex can help you avoid STDs. Condoms lessen the risk of infection for all STDs. Step by step male condom instructions.
Reducing your number of sexual partners can decrease your risk of contracting an STDs. It is still important that you and your partner get tested, and share your test results with one another.
Talk With Your Partner
Talk with your sexual partner(s) about STDs, and staying safe before having sex. It might be uncomfortable to start the conversation, but protecting your health is your responsibility.
The most common STD can be prevented by a vaccine. The HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and can help you avoid HPV-related health problems like genital warts and some cancers.
Many STDs don't have symptoms, but they can still cause health problems. To get tested, contact your healthcare provider, or consider the options below:
- Free HIV Testing at the Wellness Connection 419-372-9355
- Falcon Health Center 419-372-2271
- Wood County Community Health and Wellness Center 419-354-9049
- Toledo-Lucas County Health Department ($30 Comprehensive Screening) 419-213-4100
World AIDS Day is an international event dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. On December 1 of each year people worldwide are given the opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV and show their support for people living with HIV.
Every year BGSU celebrates this day by hosting a panel discussion. This panel discussion covers HIV/AIDS issues and how BGSU students can help end AIDS.