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    Prevention of sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus.

    World Health Organization [WHO]

    Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 1990. iii, 27 p. (WHO AIDS Series 6)

    The sexual route of transmission (homosexual or heterosexual) accounts for the majority of cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection throughout the world. At present, there are only 4 approaches to the prevention of the sexual transmission of HIV: 1) education aimed at motivating individuals to change high-risk behaviors; 2) latex condom use, preferably in conjunction with a spermicide containing nonoxynol-9; 3) early diagnosis through HIV antibody testing; and 4) partner notification, either by the infected individual or a 3rd party. The World Health Organization has developed guidelines for public health authorities, health care providers, HIV-infected persons, the sexual partners of seropositive individuals, and the general public on specific steps that should be taken. HIV-positive persons are urged to notify current and former sexual partners about their seropositivity, to adopt safe sex practices that do not involve the exchange of bodily fluids, and, in the case of infected females, to avoid pregnancy. The general public can reduce its risk of acquiring HIV by the careful selection of sexual partners (i.e., avoidance of sexual relations with unknown persons, prostitutes, or intravenous drug users), a reduction in the number of sexual partners, and avoidance of any sexual practices that involve the sharing of semen, vaginal and cervical secretions, and blood if the individual's drug taking and sexual histories are unknown. Appendices to this pamphlet discuss the complex medical, logistic, social, legal, and ethical issues raised by partner notification and the growing evidence that sexually transmitted diseases, particularly ulcers, may enhance the risk of HIV infection.
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