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IPPF MEDICAL BULLETIN. 1986 Jun; 20(3):3-4.This statement was prepared by the IPPF Medical Department in response to requests from family planning associations for clear and accurate information about the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and the precautions needed to avoid AIDS infection. It summarizes current knowledge on the epidemiology, transmission, diagnosis, symptoms, and prevention of AIDS. Transmission of human lymphotropic virus type III/lymphadenopathy-associated virus (HTLV-III/LAV) occurs through sexual contact with an infected person, transfusion of infected blood or blood products, injection with a needle contaminated with the virus, or artificial insemination with infected semen. Transmission also can occur perinatally from an infected mother to her infant. At present, persons who have antibody to HTLV-III/LAV are believed to harbor the virus and are considered infectious. Recommendations for the prevention of sexually acquired AIDS include avoidance of casual sex, especially with those from high risk groups (homosexual or bisexual men, intravenous drug users, prostitutes), and condom use. Transmission by nonsexual means can be controlled by refusing to accept blood, semen, organ, or tissue donations from persons in high risk groups; avoidance of illicit use of intravenous drugs or use of nonsterile needles; awareness on the part of health workers involved in providing artificial insemination services or blood and blood products of the risk of HTLV-III/LAV infection; and screening of semen donors for antibody at the time of donation and after 3 months. In terms of prevention of perinatal transmission, it should be noted that women with HTLV-III/LAV infection who become pregnant are at increased risk of developing AIDS and have a 50% chance of transmitting infection to their infant. Women with HTLV-III/LAV infection should be advised of the need for a highly efficient type of contraception to prevent pregnancy. Since AIDS is an uncommon disease of low infectivity, family planning workers are not considered to be at greater risk than the broader population.