Despite a veritable blitz of AIDS information, experts claim that too few people are changing their lifestyles or behaviour sufficiently to protect themselves from AIDS. A recent Canadian poll revealed widespread ignorance of the fact that AIDS is primarily a sexually acquired infection, not caught by casual touch. The survey showed that although sexual intercourse among adolescents has risen steeply in the past 10 years, less than 25 percent of those aged 18 to 34 have altered their sexual behaviour to protect them- selves against AIDS, i.e. by consistent use of condoms and spermicide. THE CENTRAL MESSAGE IS CLEAR: UNLESS ABSOLUTELY SURE (and monogamy is no guarantee) THAT YOUR SEX PARTNER IS HIV-FREE, USE A CONDOM (latex, not made of animal material) plus a reliable spermicide (e.g. one containing nonoxyl- 9). Studies with infected haemophiliacs show that condom use by a regular sex partner reduces infection risks, compared to unprotected sex. And regular condom use may bring the added reward of preventing other sexually trans- mitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia or unwanted pregnancy. Many educators say that, by whatever means, AIDS information must get out to young people at an early enough age for them to absorb it before becoming sexually active. Only by acting upon accurate AIDS information can people protect themselves, their sex partners, families and ultimately society from this disease. Protection the only answer: --------------------------- The best way to avoid AIDS is to regard it as a highly lethal disease and practice commonsense prevention. Avoiding infection is IN ONE'S OWN HANDS. People can protect themselves. To halt its spread, people are encouraged to obtain and apply accurate AIDS information to their living styles and sexual habits in order to reduce the risk of getting or transmitting the virus. Sadly, health promoters claim that "reaching the many who don't want to know" is no easy task. Health promoters suggest that educators must learn how and when to communicate AIDS information - in the right way at "teachable" moments. Many Public Health Departments are now taking the lead in disseminating education about AIDS with largescale public awareness programs. What of the future?: -------------------- Many virologists believe that since antibiotics became available in the late 1940s we have become too complacent about viral infections, no longer take communicable disease seriously, and have modern medical schools which devote few teaching hours to anti-infective strategies. In fact, we still know little about retroviruses such as HIV. Perhaps special virology research centres, like the Virus Research Institute proposed for the University of Toronto, will help to halt the tragic toll of AIDS and other as yet unknown viruses waiting in the wings. For more information on AIDS or aid for AIDS call: local AIDS committees, Public Health Departments, or AIDS Hotlines (in Toronto 392-AIDS.) ============================================================================= In everyday conversations, AIDS is usually a source for humour. For anybody who is suffering from the disease there is very little humour. The best prevention is not the thought that "IT COULD NEVER HAPPEN TO ME", if that was so all the insurance companies would be out of business. The most reliable person to be put in-charge of preventing you for getting AIDS is YOURSELF!!!!