ETR’s HIV education materials address both prevention and treatment issues for a range of audiences and ages served by public health programs, schools, colleges, private medical providers, community-based organizations and the military. Explore our complete line of up-to-date HIV materials below.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV was first identified in the U.S. in 1981—which is quite recent in terms of medical history. The virus attacks the body’s immune system. When the immune system eventually gets very weak, the person’s body can no longer fight off infections and illnesses. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
There are a few basic facts everyone should know about HIV:
Anyone can get HIV.
HIV can be prevented.
Everyone should get tested for HIV.
Testing is quick and easy.
ETR offers the largest selection of sexual and reproductive health interventions and programs. Our evidence-based curricula are some of the most rigorously tested in the country and feature well-designed HIV-prevention lesson plans with student worksheets, awareness activities, roleplays and teaching games for students to develop the awareness and skills they need to protect themselves.
There are many myths about STDs, including HIV in particular. Because the risks for HIV involve sex, people may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about having questions. Many people are unsure about the facts or ashamed to admit taking risks.
Good information and healthy behavior choices are the best ways to prevent HIV. Scientists are quite clear about steps that prevent HIV. Even in the early years of the epidemic, when there were many unknowns, ways to prevent HIV were quickly outlined.
These steps haven’t changed much over time. Abstinence and safer sex are still powerful ways to prevent HIV. Other ways to prevent HIV emerged more recently. These include taking PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, approved by the FDA in 2012 as a way to prevent HIV.
While progress has been made in preventing and treating HIV, there is still much to do. HIV and AIDS are still a serious health problem in the United States and around the world. In 2017, nearly 39,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An estimated 1.1 million people are living with HIV. An estimated 1 in 7 of these (about 14%) do not realize they have HIV.
The symptoms of HIV may not appear for many years. The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. The CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. People who learn their HIV status can take steps to protect their overall health, get treatment if they test positive for HIV, and take steps to keep themselves and their partners healthy.
Although there is no cure for HIV, treatment can help people with HIV live strong, healthy and long lives. ART, or antiretroviral therapy, can reduce the amount of virus in the blood and keep HIV from hurting the body.
HIV is a complex disease. ART usually involves taking a combination of three medicines once or twice a day. A person with HIV will work closely with a health care provider to build a treatment plan that works. Treatment plans can change over time.
ART is extremely effective and can reduce the level of HIV in the blood to such a low level that it can’t be detected by HIV tests. This is called “undetectable viral load.” If people with HIV stay in medical care and take their medicines every day, they can live strong, healthy, normal life spans.
HIV can be passed from a pregnant person to the baby during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. During pregnancy, a person with HIV can take medicine to greatly reduce the baby’s risk. In fact, medicine can reduce the baby’s risk of getting HIV to 1% or less. Many people with HIV live healthy and have healthy children.
Many people are working to fight HIV in their communities. Some of the ways people can be involved in the fight:
Learn how to prevent HIV and teach others—talk to friends and family about ways to reduce risk.
Reach out to people living with HIV—people with HIV or AIDS need support to get care and treatment needed for healthier and happier lives.
Help to prevent discrimination and reduce stigma—treat people with respect and understanding. Speak out against discrimination.
Teach children about HIV as soon as they can understand.
The more HIV is understood, the more people will seek testing and learn how to prevent HIV.