(for links to more information on STDs and coming out click here or go to the bottom of the page)

Commonly Asked Questions


Who is at risk for getting HIV?
A person of any age, sex, race, ethnic background, or sexual orientation can get HIV.

Is there a cure presently for HIV/AIDS?
No! HIV is a life challenging illness. There is no cure currently or vaccination.

Does HIV still cause death?
In NYC HIV is the third leading cause of death for people under 65.

But we hear about medications?
People with HIV/AIDS live longer because of the medications but are not cured.

Are there symptoms upon HIV infection?
In some cases nausea, fevers, night sweats and swollen glances may occur. However, these symptoms could be from other diseases such as colds, and the flu and are not a reliable gauge and do not always occur when HIV infects. You should see a doctor or get tested if you engaged in risky behavior.

Can you tell if a person has HIV/AIDs?
In most case people with HIV do not have outward signs of it!

How is HIV transmitted?
HIV enters the body through openings that lead directly to blood vessels. Therefore any form of unprotected sex is risky. It survives only in blood, which is carried in other body fluids such as sperm and breast milk. It is not carried in saliva unless it is mixed directly with blood. Exchanging needles or using unclean, not freshly packaged needles can also lead to infection. Health workers who do not take proper precautions may also be at risk.

Can you get HIV indulging in oral sex?
Though a lower percentage of possibility, all forms of oral sex; both receiver and giver, male or female, are risky. Any open sore offers access to the blood stream. All forms of condoms (male or female) are recommended and reduce risk.

Is a male entering a female or male at risk?
Yes – even if sores or openings are not detectable – it is still possible to receive the virus. Often there are hidden cuts or weaknesses in the opening of the penis. Statistically speaking what forms of sex are most risky? Anal and vaginal!!

Can you get HIV from kissing?
There are no reports of HIV infection from light kissing. From deeper kissing there is one case known where the person carrying the virus had bleeding gums.

What are ways to avoid infection?
1. Abstinence
2. Knowing your partner and discussing prior sexual activity and the use of condoms.

When is not using a condom acceptable?
If a couple is in a committed monogamous relationship for over three years, has been tested, and there is no possible exposure to the virus and both parties are HIV negative.

What happens when you are infected?
In most cases the virus spreads through the white blood cells and compromises the immune system.

What is AIDS compared to HIV?
AIDS is used to describe the condition once one’s immune system is no longer able to fight disease


Which age group is the highest infection group for STDs in NYC?
Your age group 13-19.

What STDs are now epidemics in New York City?
Syphilis and Gonorrhea.

Are there treatments?
Yes - there are antibiotics if administered in time that will cure both.

If left untreated?
Blindness, heart problems, insanity and death.

What are the symptoms of Syphilis?
Canker soars, fevers, rashes.

Burning in the penis or bleeding from the urethra.

Is there a cure for Herpes?
Herpes sores do go into to remission but there is no cure and they return.

What is the most important message HIV and Pride offers?
Care about who you are – you are unique, wonderful and individual – be safe. And if you care about what you are doing – others will too. Everyone – everyone has a right to be safe!

And what do you do if you have a problem or you are at risk?
Ask for help!


For more information visit these sites:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: STDs

STD Detection and HIV Prevention

List of free and confidential STD testing clinics

Genital warts

Hepatitis C





General STD info


For support with "coming out":

Bronx Community Pride

Queens Rainbow Center

Hendrick Martin Institute