Prevention and education

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:46 pm
Education and prevention are the keys to fighting AIDS, as the disease currently has no cure. The more you know about how HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is spread, the more steps you can take to protect yourself. At the same time, you should be aware that everyday practices like shaking hands or sharing dishes don't transmit this disease. Most cases of HIV are contracted by having oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with an infected person, or sharing a contaminated needle. It may also be transmitted to an infant by an HIV-positive mother. Abstinence and avoiding IV drug use are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of AIDS. Having sex within a mutually monogamous relationship, where both partners are HIV negative, is considered the next safest behavior. If you're not in a monogamous relationship, you should use a condom every time you have sex. Condoms can significantly reduce your risk of contracting HIV and many other sexually-transmitted diseases. Being infected with sexually-transmitted diseases like chlamydia (kluh-MID-ee-uh) can make you more susceptible to HIV infection. If you're pregnant, consider being tested for HIV. Should you be positive, immediate drug treatment may prevent you from passing the virus to your baby. For more information, speak with a doctor in your area.

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