Resources for Patients

What is HIV? What is AIDS?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks and weakens the immune system (the body’s defense system). The virus attacks and destroys white blood cells called CD4+ cells, which are an important part of the immune system. A weak immune system has trouble fighting off disease. The virus and the infection that it causes are called HIV. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the last stage of HIV disease. There is currently no cure for AIDS.

How is HIV spread?

HIV is spread by contact with infected blood, semen or vaginal fluids through:


The best ways to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS:


The standard treatment for HIV is a combination of antiretroviral medications. Antiretroviral medications slow the rate at which the virus multiplies. Taking these medications, as directed by your provider, can reduce the amount of virus in your blood and help you stay healthy.

The decision to start antiretroviral medication depends on your health, your lab results (CD4 count and viral load), and your symptoms. Starting medication is an individualized decision that should be discussed between the patient and the provider.

The lab values that will be monitored include:

Follow these healthy practices during treatment:

It is important that you learn as much as you can about HIV infection and take an active role in your treatment. Your provider will be available to answer questions about HIV and find the best treatment plan for you. You may also want to consider joining an HIV support group, where members can share information and common experiences.

Resources for Patients:

AIDS Info- US Dept of Health and Human Services, latest treatment guidelines; other resources

The Body:The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource

Centers for Diseases Control

I-Base Pregnancy - A guide to HIV and pregnancy

Locations of Counseling, Testing & Referral Services in Nebraska

Mountain Plains AETC - Teaching resources; also National Hepatitis C Center of Excellence

Nebraska AIDS Project - Regional HIV-AIDS resource for HIV-infected persons, HIV prevention information, and HIV education

New Mexico AETC

Quit Now - Information about smoking cessation including free telephonic advice

UNMC Ryan White Part C & D Sliding Fee Scale

Women, Children and HIV -  Lots of links and information on pregnancy and women's health []