HIV Information for Victory
for those in need
Where to start & how to move forward ...
Become part of the solution ...

Who We Are
- What We Do

AIDSNET is charged with assisting the growing population of people with HIV. This is achieved through the processes of assessing, planning, and allocating government funds in order to guarantee the quality of service provided in the counties of Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill. more

501c(3) Designation

AIDSNET is designated by the IRS as a non-profit 501c(3) organization and is based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

CAB Members Needed

Do you reside and receive your HIV care in the AIDSNET region? If so, please consider joining our Community Advisory Board.


Mission Statement

AIDSNET builds healthier communities by planning and funding HIV care and prevention services.

Download the PDF version of AIDSNET's Bylaws.

Board Members Needed



AIDSNET traces its history to the early days of the epidemic. By the mid-1980's, it was evident that the community's response to AIDS would require strong leadership. However, the newness of the epidemic had not allowed for the development of a comprehensive approach by the local agencies. Limited information about the basic nature of AIDS, as well as a lack of resources to help those infected, resulted in an inadequate public health response. This fragmented response may have served to meet immediate needs, but it was clear that a more unified approach was needed. more

History of HIV

The history of HIV is filled with triumphs and failures; life and death. In the early years of the epidemic, AIDS was unknown and misunderstood, feared, untreatable and often fatal. Years down the line, a virus named HIV was discovered and linked to AIDS. That was the turning point in AIDS history. Read the full story at


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What is HIV?
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the cells of the immune system. Read more at
What is AIDS?
AIDS is an acronym for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. An HIV-infected person receives a diagnosis of AIDS after developing one of the CDC-defined AIDS defining illnesses. An HIV-positive person who has not had any serious illnesses also can receive an AIDS diagnosis on the basis of certain blood tests; specifically the CD4 cell counts.
What is a CD4 cell?
CD4 cells, or T-cells, are the "generals" of the human immune system. These are the cells that send signals to activate your body's immune response when they detect "intruders" like viruses or bacteria. Because of the important role these cells play in how your body fights off infections, it is important to keep their numbers up in the normal ranges. Visit the website for more information about CD4 cells.
What is a Viral Load?
Viral Load is the level of HIV in your blood. Knowing your viral load helps your medical provider to monitor your HIV disease, decide when to start treatment, and determine whether or not your HIV medications are working once you begin taking them. Visit the website for more information about viral load.
Am I at risk for HIV infection?
There are behaviors we know put you at risk for HIV infection and sexually transmitted infections. Certain exposure routes do offer higher risk of infection than others. Those exposures that carry the highest risk include sharing needles to inject drugs, receptive unprotected anal intercourse and vaginal intercourse. Read more at
Why should I use a condom?
Condoms are still the best, proven method for HIV prevention short of complete abstinence. And despite what some might tell you, the main reason that condoms fail is not because of the condom, but because of incorrect and/or inconsistent use. Ultimately, safer sex means using a condom consistently each and every time you engage in sexual activities. Read more about how to properly use a condom.
I think I was exposed to HIV. Is there anything I can do about it now?
Yes. After having a known exposure to HIV, you can start PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, which is a combination of anti-HIV medications. It is important to start PEP within 72 hours after exposure. Most emergency rooms and doctors know about PEP and can prescribe it. You have to take the medications for a month and they can make you ill, so it is not recommended except in real emergencies. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about PEP.
What are the symptoms of an HIV infection?
Not everyone who has been infected will show signs of the infection. At least half of those infected will experience the following symptoms during acute seroconversion:
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Night sweats
  • Malaise (a vague feeling of body discomfort or uneasiness)
  • Myalgia (a generalized, muscular ache or pain)
  • Rash (eczema-like in appearance and usually distributed around the upper parts of the body and/or palms of the hands)

Other symptoms can include sore throat, mouth/esophageal sores, joint pain and swelling of the lymph glands. Most of these symptoms will resolve within a week to a month on average, while swollen lymph glands can persist in some for years. Read more at
Do I have an HIV infection?
The fact of the matter is regardless of what symptoms a person may or may not have, the only way to know if you have an HIV infection is by getting an HIV test. The most important thing you can do for yourself and your partner is to get an HIV test. Get tested and get the peace of mind you are looking for.
Where can I get tested?
You can get tested by your family doctor, at a free and confidential testing site in your community, or even by purchasing a home test kit. You should take the time to understand your options and decide what factors are most important to you when choosing the way to test. For more information to help you in making a decision, visit the Federal Drug Administration website.
How soon can HIV be detected by a test?
Because there are two types of tests for HIV – antibody testing and RNA testing – there are two answers to this question. Antibody testing includes all rapid tests. These tests look for antibodies to HIV. It takes about 1 to 3 months after infection for the body to produce enough antibodies to show up on a test. RNA tests, which are more costly and used less often than antibody tests, look for the presence of the virus itself. The time between HIV infection and RNA detection is 9-11 days. Read more at
I'm HIV+ Now what?
It is all right to feel scared. Just don't let that fear take over the reality that HIV is now considered a manageable disease. It is not what it used to be. People are living a normal life span. Focus on the present. Find a doctor. Don't live in denial. Understand HIV. Reach out to others. Read more about questions to ask your doctor at webmd, treatment options at, and living with HIV at
Is there a connection between HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
Yes. Some major points as to why HIV and other STDs are so closely linked are:

  • If you have an STD, this strongly indicates that you may have put yourself at risk for HIV.
  • Likewise, if you have HIV, this strongly indicates that you may have put yourself at risk for other STDs.
  • If you already have HIV and you get another STD like gonorrhea or chlamydia, you are more infectious to others.
  • If you already have HIV and you get another STD like herpes, syphilis or genital warts, those STDs can be more severe than what is normally seen.

To learn more about the biology behind this connection, visit If you want to learn about the more than 20 diseases that can be transmitted sexually, also read this article at


Current economic realities make performing the mandates of AIDSNET's charter on a day-by-day basis even more challenging.  As unemployment and job growth remains stagnant, budgets within the Commonwealth of PA and the Federal Government are receiving even more scrutiny due to reduced revenues from taxes and fees.  We are finding funding for programs that are vital to each community regularly reviewed, challenged and often reduced, if not eliminated.  This is particularly true in the areas of prevention, awareness and education. 

In order for AIDSNET to maintain acceptable standards in these three areas and to assure our place in the community until HIV is eliminated we must look to the generosity of individuals within our community.  Please assist us in continuing the work already started by contributing to AIDSNET.  Your donations will allow us to address the needs of those already infected and to strive to reduce the likelihood of others being infected in the future.

Thank you for considering a donation to AIDSNET. Your financial donation is tax deductible and it enables AIDSNET to continue providing services and education. You can make a difference with your donation. Here are eight ways you can donate to AIDSNET:


Mail a check or money order to AIDSNET at:
31 South Commerce Way, Suite 400
Bethlehem, PA 18017-8992

Matching Gifts Programs

Matching Gifts Programs
When a Matching Gifts Program is offered by your employer, and proof that we are a non-profit 501(c)(3) is required, please contact us and we will be happy to provide that information to your employer.

United Way

Your United Way Contribution
When you contribute to the United Way through your employer, you may select the charity you want the donation to go to.


By donating your unwanted car or boat to Donation2Charity, your donation will help raise money for AIDSNET.

eBay Giving Works

eBay Giving Works
Highlight your listing with the eBay Giving Works charity ribbon. When your listing sells, eBay credits back a portion of seller fees. All donations are tax deductible.

PayPal Giving Fund
Donate with PayPal Giving Fund. 100% of your donation will go to AIDSNET.

Go Fund Me
Donate or create a fundraiser for AIDSNET.

Thank you for your kind support!

The official registration and financial information of AIDSNET may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.