Understanding HIV Prevention and Resources

  • HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is a virus that attacks cells in your body's immune system. HIV is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) which can lead to AIDS
  • AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. AIDS is the final stage of the HIV infection. Not everyone who has HIV develops AIDS.

Medications help people with HIV and AIDS live longer and better lives. When a person has AIDS, his or her body is weakened so it can no longer fight diseases. But people with HIV can stay healthy for many years with proper treatment. 

There is no cure for HIV. People who take drugs for HIV can still spread the disease. Read below to learn how to protect yourself and others. Or visit


hwtestingWho gets HIV/AIDS?

Anyone can get HIV. That’s why it is so important to practice safe sex, and to get tested. Some people are at higher risk of getting HIV. These people include:

  • Injection-drug users
  • Sex workers
  • People who are incarcerated
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Victims of sexual assault

If you are wondering if you are at a higher risk for getting HIV, visit

You can protect yourself and others. To prevent the spread of HIV:

  • Get tested. Adolescents and adults aged 15 to 65 years should get screened for HIV. 
    • If an adolescent has certain risk factors, screening can begin before age 15. 
  • Use latex condoms every time you have sex. Condoms also help prevent the spread of other STDs.
  • Use plastic wrap or dental dams to help prevent spread of HIV during oral sex.
  • Have sober sex. Drugs and alcohol increase the chance that you will have unsafe sex.
  • Use clean needles. If you use drugs that you inject, use a new, clean needle every time. Do not share needles with others.

pregnancy calloutPregnancy and Prevention

All women who are pregnant or who are planning to get pregnant should get tested for HIV as early as possible. This is because mother-to-child transmission of HIV is possible by a few ways:

  • During pregnancy
  • During childbirth
  • Through breast milk

However, if a woman is treated for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of her baby getting HIV is less than 1%. There are important things pregnant women and new moms can do to protect their baby from HIV. These include:

  • Pregnant women with HIV receive HIV medicines during pregnancy
  • Babies born to women with HIV receive medicine for 4 to 6 weeks after birth.
  • Because HIV can be transmitted through breast milk, women with HIV should not breast feed their babies.

To learn more about preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, visit

Member Benefits

callCovered Services

CenCal Health member benefits include:

  • HIV testing and counseling
  • AIDS Treatment
  • Medications to treat HIV/AIDS
  • STD testing and treatment
  • Birth control
  • Pregnancy testing and counseling
  • Sexual assault services

All members have the right to confidentiality when getting these services. If you’re a minor under 18, you don’t need the consent of your parent or guardian to receive these services. You may go to your PCP or directly to any qualified Medi-Cal provider either within or outside of the Health Plan provider network for sensitive services. You don’t need a referral from your PCP.

HIV Testing: SB County


HIV testNOTE: All services are confidential.

South Santa Barbara County

SB County Public Health Department

  • 345 Camino Del Remedio
  • 805-681-5488
  • Monday to Friday; By appointment only
Planned Parenthood
  • 518 Garden St
  • 1-888-898-3806
  • Monday to Saturday
Westside Neighborhood Clinic
  • 628 W. Micheltorena St
  • 805-963-1546
  • Monday to Friday; By appointment only
Isla Vista Neighborhood Clinic
  • 970 Embarcadero Del Mar
  • 805-968-1511
  • Monday to Friday; By appointment only
Eastside Neighborhood Clinic
  • 915 Milpas St
  • 805-963-1641
  • Monday to Friday; By appointment only
Pacific Pride Foundation
  • 126 E Haley St, Suite A-11
  • 805-963-3636
  • Monday to Friday; Appointment may be required

North Santa Barbara County

Pacific Pride Foundation

  • 819 W Church St. Santa Maria
  • 805-349-9947
  • Monday to Friday; Appointment may be required

Planned Parenthood 

  • 415 E. Chapel St. Santa Maria
  • 1-888-898-3806
  • Monday to Wednesday

SB County Public Health Department

  • 2115 S. Centerpointe Pkwy. Santa Maria
  • 805-346-7230
  • Monday to Friday; By appointment only

HIV Testing: SLO County


All services are confidential.

HWtestingsitesSan Luis Obispo County

Access Support Network

  • 1320 Nipomo St. San Luis Obispo
  • 805-781-3660

Planned Parenthood

SLO County Public Health

  • 2191 Johnson Ave. San Luis Obispo
  • 805-781-8800

T.H.E Center

  • 705 Grand Ave. San Luis Obispo
  • 1152 E. Grand Ave. Arroyo Grande
  • 800-549-8989