Understanding your sexual health and how to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STI) is important to keep you healthy. Left untreated, STIs can lead to serious complications, certain cancers, and can increase your chance of becoming infected with HIV. There are many HIV/STI services available in Michigan to help prevent, diagnose, and treat HIV and STIs.
Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV. About 13 percent of them don’t know their status and need testing.
HIV and STIs continue to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, as well as gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.
Contracting an STI, like gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis, can make people more likely to get HIV, especially when not using condoms.
Getting Help in Michigan
You are not alone. Being sexually healthy means being able to enjoy a healthier body, a satisfying sex life, positive relationships, and peace of mind. There are many tools available to support you.
Today, there are more options than ever that are available to prevent HIV and other STIs. You can use strategies such as abstinence (not having sex), not sharing needles, and using condoms the right way every time you have sex. You may also be able to take advantage of HIV prevention medicines such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
Programs that provide counseling services for individuals at risk for contracting or transmitting the HIV virus with the objective of supporting their ability to make behavior changes that will reduce their risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV. Counseling involves a personal risk assessment, development of a personalized action plan and the decision to seek an HIV test.
Programs that distribute condoms, lubricants, dental dams, bleach kits (ammonia or bleach for cleaning needles and instruction for use) and/or other supplies that can be used to help stop the spread of AIDS, other blood borne infectious diseases and sexually transmitted diseases among high-risk populations. Individuals who have a history of injection drug use, sex with a person with HIV/AIDS, sex with a man who has sex with other men, sex with an injection drug user, a sexually transmitted disease, or are exchanging money or drugs for sex are considered to be at high or increased risk.
Programs that attempt to control the occurrence of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a group of symptoms (including certain infections and/or cancers) that collectively characterize the condition and are the result of a weakening of the immune system caused by infection with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Activities include surveillance of the occurrence of the disease in the community, investigation of individual cases, and development of case histories and other interventions that will help to increase the medical establishment’s understanding of the causes of the diseases and potential methods of prevention and cure. AIDS control activities are often initiated by local HIV prevention planning groups that are responsible for developing needs assessments and planning long and short-term strategies specific to target communities as determined by the studies.
Programs that provide information regarding practices that reduce the risk of an individual contracting a disease, including AIDS, through sexual activity.
STI and HIV Testing
If you are sexually active, getting tested is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health. National guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend yearly HIV and STI testing to reduce your chances of getting and/or spreading HIV and/or STIs.
Programs that offer HIV tests which are used to identify individuals who have been infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and are at risk for developing AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) or which are used to measure progression of the disease in people known to be infected. The most common HIV screening test is the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) which most frequently uses peripheral blood drawn from the arm or a finger as a sample, but can also be conducted using serum, oral fluids or urine. Repeatedly reactive EIA tests are confirmed using the Western blot or the immunofluorescence assay (IFA). The most common test that is used to measure disease progression is the PCR (polymeraise chain reaction) or viral load test. Many programs that provide HIV testing also provide pre-testing and post-test counseling which includes information about AIDS/HIV, reducing risks for HIV transmission, emotional support to help the individual deal with the testing process and test results, and information about and referral to other AIDS-related services.
Care and Treatment
If you are living with HIV, you have access to medical care and medication no matter your insurance or income status. Accessing HIV medical care is one of the most important steps you can take to live a long and healthy life. Research has even proven that people living with HIV who take their HIV medication as prescribed by a provider are unable to pass HIV to their partners. HIV treatment has come a long way since the 1990’s. Other STIs are also treatable, and many can be cured.
Programs that provide comprehensive medical services on an inpatient or outpatient basis for people who have symptomatic or asymptomatic HIV infections.
Programs that provide FDA approved HIV-related prescription drugs to low-income people with HIV/AIDS who have limited or no prescription drug coverage. ADAPs may also purchase insurance and provide adherence monitoring and outreach under the program’s flexibility policy. ADAPs are not entitlement programs. Annual federal appropriations and, where available, funding from other sources (which is highly variable and dependent on local decisions and resources), determine how many clients ADAPs can serve and the level of services they can provide. Each state administers its own ADAP, including the establishment of eligibility criteria, drug formularies, and other program elements. No minimum formulary or client income eligibility level is required under current law. There is wide variation in access to ADAPs and in the range of drugs offered across the country. The program is funded through Part B (formerly Title II) of the Title XXVI of the Public Health Service Act as amended by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act of 2006 (Ryan White Program), which provides grants to states and territories.
Programs whose objectives are to protect people from the potentially deadly effects of the drugs they use, reduce HIV risk, increase access to treatment services and reduce public drug use and improper disposal of hypodermic needles and syringes.
Programs that supply medication that has been prescribed as part of an individual’s treatment for an illness or injury or to prevent people at risk for getting an illness from contracting it, generally in situations where the individual is unable to purchase the medication for him or herself.