YOU MAY THINK AIDS, ACQUIRED IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME, IS SOMETHING
YOU DONT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT. BUT YOU MAY BE WRONG. YOUR PARTNERS
PAST COULD MAKE YOU HISTORY. PROTECTING YOURSELF AGAINST AIDS BEGINS WITH
RECOGNIZING YOUR RISK. YOU MAY BE CAREFUL, BUT CONSIDER THIS:
IF YOUVE HAD TWO SEX PARTNERS IN THE LAST YEAR, AND EACH OF YOUR
PARTNERS HAD TWO OTHER PARTNERS THE YEAR BEFORE, AND SO ON, FOR THE LAST NINE
YEARS, ITS AS IF YOUVE SLEPT WITH 512 PEOPLE... WHOSE PAST YOU
DONT KNOW. TO GET THE FACTS ABOUT AIDS, READ ON OR CALL THE ILLINOIS
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTHS FREE HOTLINE: 1-800-243-2437.
AIDS is a fatal disease that causes the body to lose its natural protection
against infection. It is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which
attacks the bodys immune system. People with HIV are more likely to
become ill from diseases that healthy people can usually fight off, such as
unusual types of pneumonia and cancers. There is no vaccine or cure for HIV or
Both men and women can get HIV. The virus is spread most commonly through
vaginal, anal or oral intercourse with someone who is infected with HIV, or by
sharing drug needles or syringes with someone who has the virus. HIV cannot be
spread through casual contact, such as hugging, shaking hands or being near an
HIV-infected person who is coughing or sneezing. HIV is not spread by drinking
glasses, eating utensils or mosquitos.
Those at greatest risk of HIV infection are:
- People who have more than one sex partner or who dont know the
sexual history of their partner or partners.
- People who share needles or syringes to inject drugs or steroids.
- Men who have sex with men.
- The sex partners of persons who have been involved in the above behaviors.
- Babies born to infected mothers.
You cant tell if your partner is infected with HIV. Many people who
have the virus do not appear to be ill. But once people have been infected,
they can spread HIV to others for the rest of their lives.
How can you avoid infection? The only certain ways are to abstain from sex
or stay in a relationship where both partners are not infected with HIV and
have sex only with each other and never share needles or syringes. Make it a
point to learn about your partners medical, sexual and social history.
Proper use of latex condoms during vaginal, anal and oral sex reduces your
chances of getting HIV.
To find out more about AIDS and HIV testing, talk to your doctor or your
local health department. You can also call the Illinois Department of Public
Health toll-free AIDS/HIV & STD Hotline at 1-800-243-2437, TTY
1-800-782-0423, to ask questions or get information about where to get tested.
All of your questions will be answered in strict confidence. The Illinois
Department of Public Health operates counseling and testing sites throughout
the state, where free, anonymous or confidential counseling and testing is