Information about HIV

What is HIV?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment. So once you get HIV, you have it for life.

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How does HIV affect the body?

HIV attacks the body’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells (T cells), which help the immune system fight off infections. Untreated, HIV reduces the number of CD4 cells (T cells) in the body, making the person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers.

Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease. These opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS, the last stage of HIV infection.

How is HIV treated?

No effective cure currently exists, but HIV can be controlled with proper medical care. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy or ART. If taken the right way, every day, this medicine can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV, keep them healthy and greatly lower their chance of infecting others.

Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can live nearly as long as someone who does not have HIV.

HIV Treatment Information

HIV-Prevention Medications

Please see below for links and details about HIV-prevention medications.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is a prescription medication regimen recently made available for people who are at substantial risk of getting HIV. PrEP is a powerful HIV prevention tool and can be combined with condoms and other prevention methods to provide even greater protection than when used alone. People who use PrEP must commit to taking the drug every day and seeing their health care provider for follow-up every three (3) months.

If you are interested in discussing if a prescription for the pill (Truvada) is right for you, make a 40-minute appointment with a health care provider at PUSH (494-1700). Remember, there is no charge for a provider visit during the semester if you are currently a full-time student. There are charges for laboratory work, which will be ordered by your provider.

You can also make an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss whether PrEP is right for you.

Paying for PrEP Medication

PrEP (Truvada) is available on campus at the Purdue University Pharmacy at a cost of $20 per month with the Purdue Student Health Insurance Plan.

Assistance for paying for PrEP (Truvada)

Assistance in Paying for PeP Medications

According to the CDC, if you’re prescribed post-exposure prophylaxis (PeP) medications and you cannot get insurance coverage (Medicaid, Medicare, private or employer-based), your health care provider can apply for free PeP medicines through medication assistance programs run by the manufacturers. Online applications can be faxed to the company, or some companies have special phone lines. These can be handled urgently in many cases to avoid a delay in getting medicine.

HIV/STI Testing and Support Services

Please see below for HIV/STI testing and support services.

Where to Find Safer Sex Supplies On Campus

Safer sex kits and supplies available to everyone at no cost during regular business hours (8:00am-5:00pm) Monday-Friday, at the LGBTQ Center, Schleman Hall, Room 230. Contact for more information. 

Free condoms are available at the Purdue Latino Cultural Center located at 426 Waldron Street, Monday - Thursday (9:00am-9:00pm) and Friday (9:00am - 4:00pm). Contact for more information. 

You can also find free and low-cost safer sex supplies through the Purdue University Right Fit Condom Program coordinated by the Student Wellness Office. Internal condoms (FC2 condoms) and dental dams can be obtained from the Student Wellness Office at no cost. Learn more