HIV HUB 844-482-4040 All services are available in English and Spanish.
Todos los servicios se ofrecen en español e inglés.
PrEP + Care = Zero
“Getting to Zero” means a comprehensive approach that includes Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV Testing, and Linkage or Retention in Care. To learn more about Getting to Zero, please click here.
What is PrEP?
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is an HIV prevention intervention that includes taking an HIV prevention medication once per day in addition to medical services such as testing every three months for HIV/STIs and monitoring kidney and liver functions.
Should I consider taking PrEP?
PrEP is not for everyone. Doctors prescribe PrEP to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. You should consider PrEP if you are a man or woman who sometimes has sex without using a condom, especially if you have a sex partner who you know is HIV-positive. You should also consider PrEP if you don’t know whether your partner has HIV infection but you know that your partner is at risk (for example, your partner injects drugs or is having sex with other people in addition to you); if you have recently been told by a health care provider that you had a sexually transmitted infection; or if you share drug use equipment. If your partner is HIV positive, PrEP may be an option to help protect you from HIV while you try to get pregnant, or during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding.
PrEP was tested in several large studies with men who have sex with men, men who have sex with women, and women who have sex with men. All people in these studies (1) were tested at the beginning of the trial to be sure that they did not have HIV, (2) agreed to take an oral PrEP tablet daily, (3) received intensive counseling on safer-sex behavior, (4) were tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections, and (5) were given a regular supply of condoms.
PrEP is not the same as HIV medication for treatment for someone that is HIV-positive. If there is a possibility that you are HIV-positive you should not take PrEP until you have tested for HIV and have been confirmed HIV-negative.
What is linkage to care?
Linkage to care is assisting people to connect with medical, psychological, and social services. Linkage to care can help individuals who are HIV-negative remain negative (PrEP Navigation) and help those who are HIV-positive enter into HIV medical care. Persons newly diagnosed with HIV need to connect quickly with a primary HIV doctor and remain in care.
Why is linkage to care important?
Linkage to care increases likelihood of people accessing treatment and continuing care. It provides patients the opportunity to engage in medical care, experience better health outcomes, and significantly reduce their risk of transmitting HIV. Linkage to care provides clients with the knowledge to advocate for themselves and others in a medical setting.
What is PEP?
PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis. It means taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected.
Is PEP right for me?
If you’re HIV-negative or don’t know your HIV status, and in the last 72 hours you:
think you may have been exposed to HIV during sex (for example, if the condom broke),
shared needles and works to prepare drugs (for example, cotton, cookers, water), or
were sexually assaulted.
When should I take PEP?
PEP must be started within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV, but the sooner you start PEP, the better. Every hour counts. If you’re prescribed PEP, you’ll need to take it once or twice daily for 28 days. Starting PEP as soon as possible after a potential HIV exposure is important. Research has shown that PEP has little or no effect in preventing HIV infection if it is started later than 72 hours after HIV exposure. PEP is effective in preventing HIV when administered correctly, but not 100%.
Hepatitis C is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and damage. Inflammation is swelling that occurs when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can damage organs. Viruses invade normal cells in your body. Many viruses cause infections that can be spread from person to person. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with an infected person’s blood. Hepatitis C can cause an acute or chronic infection.
Although no vaccine for hepatitis C is available, you can take steps to protect yourself from hepatitis C. If you have hepatitis C, talk with your doctor about treatment. Medicines can cure most cases of hepatitis C.
Should I be screened for HCV?
Screening is testing for a disease in people who have no symptoms. Doctors use blood tests to screen for hepatitis C. Many people who have hepatitis C don’t have symptoms and don’t know they have hepatitis C. Screening tests can help doctors diagnose and treat hepatitis C before it causes serious health problems. Most people infected with hepatitis C have no symptoms. Some people with an acute hepatitis C infection may have symptoms within 1 to 3 months after they are exposed to the virus. If you have chronic hepatitis C, you most likely will have no symptoms until complications develop, which could be decades after you were infected. For this reason, hepatitis C screening is important, even if you have no symptoms.
Doctors treat hepatitis C with antiviral medicines that attack the virus and can cure the disease in most cases. Several newer medicines, called direct-acting antiviral medicines, have been approved to treat hepatitis C since 2013. Studies show that these medicines can cure chronic hepatitis C in most people with this disease.
The State of Illinois AIDS/HIV & STD Hotline answers your sexual health questions with friendly, professional and trained staff. The Hotline staff can also find you no-cost and/or low-cost HIV and STDs testing services. A wide variety of other referrals are also available, including referrals for Linkage to Care for HIV-positive individuals and access to PrEP for HIV-negative individuals.
ALL CALLS ARE ANONYMOUS
The State of Illinois AIDS/HIV & STD Hotline is funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
To schedule an HIV/HCV testing appointment, call 773.661.0910 or text 872.243.1004. The test takes 21 minutes to process. A trained Health Educator will administer your test and provide you with current and accurate medical information and emotional support.
The Health Educator is also able to refer you to other social service and medical agencies. Appointments are strongly preferred. We are only able to see walk-in clients on a limited basis.
Due to the Coronavirus, Walk-In Testing will be suspended until further notice. We will continue to offer HIV and HCV testing but only by appointment. This measure is being taken for the health and well-being of the community as well as our staff. If you would like to make an appointment or for more information, please call (773) 661-0910.
**If you are currently experiencing a fever or respiratory symptoms, we ask that you contact your Primary Care Provider and postpone making an appointment for testing with us until those symptoms have cleared.
Off-Site Testing will also be suspended until further notice. For more information, please call 773.661.0910 or text 872.243.1004.
Resources & Documents
To get the most up-to-date information and referrals, we suggest calling our free and confidential hotline at 1.800.AID.AIDS (800)243.2437, text 872.243.1004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to access our
referral database to find service organizations in your area. This is a useful tool for individuals who aren't comfortable or able to speak over the phone or for other service providers looking for additional resources in the community.
This page and HIV programs contain HIV prevention messages that may not be appropriate for all audiences. Since HIV infection is spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics. If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, please exit this website.