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10 Things to Know About HIV/AIDS by Dean Renée White

December 1, 2012

For the next three years, the theme of World AIDS Day (Dec. 1) is "Getting to Zero: Zero New HIV Infections. Zero Discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths."

Below Simmons College of Arts and Sciences Dean Renée White – a leading expert in gender, race, and HIV/AID – shares 10 things you should know about HIV/AIDS to help make this theme a reality.

1. HIV/AIDS is still a pandemic. It is a disease that is primarily transmitted via unprotected sex, sharing needles with an HIV-infected individual.

2. HIV and AIDS are not the same thing. HIV is the virus while AIDS is the last stage of the progression of HIV-Disease.

3. The best modes of prevention regarding sexual transmission is either to use a latex condom during all sexual activity or to abstain from sexual contact (anal, vaginal, penile); also, avoid sharing syringes with anyone.

4. You can be HIV+ and not display any symptoms. You can't tell whether someone has contracted the virus by just looking at them.

5. Despite the fact that it should be a chronic disease, many still die because they don't know about their HIV status until treatment is less effective, because they interrupt their drug therapies, because they don't have access to drug therapies, or because they never even got tested to begin with.

6. AIDS is a key cause of death for both African Americans and Latinos.

7. Be a health care consumer—ask smart questions, and be informed.

8. Discuss your sexual history with your partner. Be honest and don't judge.

9. Share what you know with your friends and loved ones.

10. Get tested. Encourage those you love to be tested.

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