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HIV/AIDS Resources

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks the immune system and leaves the body unable to fight off a variety of dangerous illnesses. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the final and most serious stage of HIV. To date, AIDS has no cure.

How HIV spreads

To become infected with HIV, infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluid must enter your body. This can happen in several ways:

  • By having sex. You may become infected if you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected partner whose blood, semen, or vaginal fluid enters your body. The virus can enter your body through mouth sores or small tears that sometimes develop in the rectum or vagina during sexual activity.
  • By sharing needles. Sharing needles and syringes puts you at high risk of HIV and other infectious diseases, such as hepatitis.


Key Ways to Prevent HIV

There's no vaccine to prevent HIV infection and no cure for AIDS. But you can protect yourself and others from infection.

Use Treatment as Prevention (TasP)
  • If you're living with HIV, taking HIV medication exactly as prescribed can keep your partner from becoming infected. If your viral load stays undetectable (a blood test doesn't show any virus), you won't transmit the virus to anyone else.
Use Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) if you've been exposed to HIV
  • If you think you've been exposed through sex, needles or in the workplace, contact your doctor or go to the emergency department. Taking PEP as soon as possible within the first 72 hours can greatly reduce your risk of becoming infected with HIV. You will need to take medication for 28 days.
Use a new condom every time you have sex
  • Use a new condom every time you have anal or vaginal sex. Women can use a female condom. If using a lubricant, make sure it's water-based. Oil-based lubricants can cause condoms to break. During oral sex, use a non-lubricated, cut-open condom or a dental dam — a piece of medical-grade latex. 
Consider Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • The combination drugs emtricitabine plus tenofovir (Truvada) and emtricitabine plus tenofovir alafenamide (Descovy) can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted HIV infection in people at very high risk. PrEP can reduce your risk of getting HIV from sex by more than 90% and from injection drug use by more than 70%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Your doctor will prescribe these drugs for HIV prevention only if you don't already have HIV infection. You will need an HIV test before you start taking PrEP and then every three months as long as you're taking it. Your doctor will also test your kidney function. You need to take the drugs every day. They don't prevent other STIs, so you'll still need to practice safe sex. If you have hepatitis B, you should see an infectious disease or liver specialist before starting therapy.
  • Tenofovir-Emtricitabine 200 mg-300 mg (generic Truvada), Truvada, and Descovy are all available on the Fidelis Care Formulary. Talk to your health care provider to discuss treatment options if PrEP is right for you.
Tell your sexual partners if you have HIV
  • It's important to tell all your current and past sexual partners that you're HIV-positive. They will need to be tested. 
Use a clean needle
  • Injecting drugs or other substances can be unsafe and put you at risk for overdose, HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other serious infections. If you use a needle to inject drugs, make sure it's clean and new, and don't share it. Take advantage of needle-exchange programs in your community. Consider seeking help for your drug use.
If you're pregnant, get medical care right away
  • If you're HIV-positive, you may pass the infection to your baby. But if you receive treatment during pregnancy, you can significantly cut your baby's risk.

HIV Treatment

What is HIV treatment?
  • HIV medicine is called antiretroviral therapy (ART).
  • There is no effective cure for HIV.  But with proper medical care, you can control HIV.
  • Most people can get the virus under control within six months.
  • Taking HIV medicine does not prevent transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases.

When should I start treatment?
  • Start treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis.
  • HIV medication is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long they’ve had the virus or how healthy they are.
  • Talk to your health care provider about the treatment plan that is right for you. For a full list of ART medications on the Fidelis Care Formulary, visit:
Does HIV medication cause side effects?

HIV medication can cause side effects in some people. However, not everyone experiences side effects. 

The most common side effects are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Pain
What medication and treatment plan is right for you?

Talk to your health care provider about your medication and treatment choices. If your treatment makes you sick, let your provider know immediately. Your health care provider may prescribe medication to help manage the side effects or may change your treatment plan.

Keep Yourself Healthy and Help Stop The Spread of HIV:

Getting tested in one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy, and prevent the spread of HIV. An HIV viral load test can be used to test for HIV, check and see how well your HIV medications are working, and see if there are any changes in your HIV infection. The test is done by taking a small blood sample, usually from your arm. You do not need to prepare for this test, and it can be done at any time. Many free testing sites are available. Please see the Helpful Resources Section to easily locate a site near you.  


Helpful Resources

Online Resource for general HIV information and tool to locate testing sites and other prevention services in your community:

NY State Department of Health AIDS Institute

The New York State Department of Health, AIDS Institute has lead responsibility for coordinating state programs, services and activities relating to HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and hepatitis C. Visit for more information.

  • NY State Department of Health AIDS Institute Hotline: 1-800-541-AIDS
  • HIV Counseling Hotline: 1-800-872-2777

  • NYSDOH Anonymous HIV Counseling and Testing Program:

    For HIV information, referrals, or information on how to get a free, anonymous HIV test, call the Anonymous HIV Counseling and Testing Program:

    • Albany Region: 1-800-962-5065
    • Buff­alo Region: 1-800-962-5064
    • Long Island Region (Suff­olk/Nassau): 1-800-462-6786
    • Lower Hudson Valley Region: 1-800-828-0064
    • Rochester Region: 1-800-962-5063;
    • Syracuse Region: 1-800-562-9423
    • TDD: 1-585-423-8120


    The Expanded Syringe Access Demonstration Program (ESAP) is a legal needle and syringe exchange program for persons 18 years or older in New York State. To find ESAP and needle disposal sites, syringe exchange programs, HIV testing sites, and services near you, call the New York State Department of Health HIV/AIDS hotline (toll free):

    • English: 1-800-541-AIDS
    • Spanish: 1-800-233-SIDA
    • TDD: 1-800-369-2437

    Voice callers can use the New York Relay System 711 or 1-800-421-1220 and ask the operator to dial 1-800-541-2437


    Sharps Disposal:


    How Fidelis Care Can Help

    Fidelis Care offers case management services by phone to qualifying members living with HIV/AIDS. Our case managers can provide support and encouragement to help improve your health. In addition to HIV/AIDS, we offer programs staffed by registered nurses and other trained professionals for the following conditions:

    • Hemophilia
    • Sickle Cell
    • Cancer
    • Asthma 
    • Diabetes 
    • Heart Disease
    • Prenatal (Maternal Health)

    Fidelis Care also offers Complex Case Management, for members living with more than one of these conditions. 

    To receive more information, please call Fidelis Care Clinical Services at 1-800-247-1441.

    To learn about appointing a health care agent in New York State, download the Health Care Proxy Form (PDF) from the New York State Department of Health. 


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    For your convenience, Fidelis Care also provides an online form for Prior Authorization (PA) submissions and supplemental medication request forms:


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