HIV infection is a communicable disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) which damages the body's immune system, the system that fights infections.
Health care practitioners are required to report each person infected with HIV or AIDS to the Wisconsin Division of Health in Madison. Subsequently, the Brown County Public Health Division receives notification of those who are either newly-diagnosed or who relocate to Wisconsin. Each identified person is contacted by a public health nurse and assisted with referrals to area agencies.
In addition, sexual or needle-sharing partners are identified. Telling a partner that you are HIV positive can be hard to do. It is important for partners to be informed of their exposure to HIV and to be tested. The Brown County Public Health Division can notify and test partners who might have been exposed without any mention of a name (anonymously). Telling a partner can also be done by the infected person himself/herself or together with the public health nurse.
It is important for an HIV infected person to be screened for hepatitis A, B, and C, and tuberculosis. It is also important to be current with immunizations, especially Tdap and hepatitis A and B.
For more information or to contact the public health nurse for assistance, call the Public Health Division at 448-6400.