HIV/AIDS

For more information on HIV / AIDS, please contact the HIV Early Intervention Specialist, Sueann Crowther at 864-467-2602. 

What is HIV?

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This is the virus that leads to AIDS.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome:

A - Acquired --produced by influences originating outside the organism

I - Immune-- referring to the immune system

D - Deficiency-- a lack or defect

S - Syndrome-- a set of symptoms that occur together (in the case of AIDS, a set of infections or illnesses that occur with a severely compromised immune system)

SAMSHA states “Drug use is an important driver of the HIV epidemic. Unsafe sexual behavior, resulting from the dis-inhibitory effects of drug use, abuse, and dependence, increases the risk of HIV transmission. This unsafe behavior can occur in the context of commercial sex work and multiple partners, or with unsafe sex between HIV+ individuals and their partners. Both alcohol and illicit drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, can be used to increase sexual desire, improve sexual performance, and increase infidelity. Alternatively injection drug use, with heroin, decreases sexual desire but can result in HIV infection through direct percutaneous virus infection from contaminated injection equipment. Treatment of drug abuse and dependence results in a reduction of unsafe sexual and drug use HIV risk behaviors.”

The virus, HIV, has the highest concentration in blood but is also found in blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk.  Drug use is a major factor in the spread of HIV. Persons who inject drugs and share their needles and syringes are at high risk of getting infected with hepatitis and/or the HIV virus due to the possibility of contact with someone else’s blood.  Any of the drug injecting equipment, also known as the “works”, can be contaminated and should not be shared.  It is important to remember as stated above that one does not need to be an intravenous drug user to contract HIV.  Any contact with the four body fluids mentioned above can place one at risk for HIV.

If people do have the virus, their bodies can take up to three months to develop antibodies that are detectable by current tests. (The average time is 25 days.) There are now many different treatments that can help protect the health of people with HIV and delay the onset of illness.  Early detection of HIV is the best way to reduce the chances of HIV developing into AIDS.

The Phoenix Center's HIV Early Intervention Specialist offers:

  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Reduction Counseling
  • Free rapid HIV testing for active clients of the Phoenix Center who are considered at high risk for infection
  • Pre and posttest counseling
  • Referrals to appropriate agencies for confirmatory testing and medical treatment as needed

Education about HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and the connection between these diseases and drug/alcohol use/abuse is also offered in the form of speaking engagements, participation in health fairs, and other community events.

The Phoenix Center's HIV Early Intervention Specialist also partners with the Greenville County Health Department for additional services that may be needed by Phoenix Center clients.

Related Websites

AID Upstate Website
AID Upstate is a non-profit AIDS service organization that provides clients with housing assistance, nutritional and pharmaceutical needs, food and transportation. In partnership with other community organizations, AID Upstate seeks opportunities to teach and inform citizens who are at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS of the dangers of certain risks behaviors. Free HIV testing is available on site as well as sites around the Upstate.

AIDS Info Website
AIDS Info is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) project providing information on HIV/AIDS clinical trials and treatment. It serves as the main dissemination point for federally approved HIV treatment and prevention guidelines; AIDS Info provides information about the current treatment regimens for HIV infection and AIDS-related illnesses, including the prevention of HIV transmission from occupational exposure and mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy.

CDC Website
The Center for Disease Control & Prevention

Kaiser Network
The Kaiser Foundation provides timely, reliable, and non-partisan information on national health issues to policymakers, the media, and the general public.

The Body Website