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April 22, 1988

Preventing the Heterosexual Spread of AIDSAre We Giving Our Patients the Best Advice?

Author Affiliations

From the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) (Drs Hearst and Hulley), the Departments of Epidemiology and International Health (Drs Hearst and Hulley) and of Family and Community Medicine (Dr Hearst), and the Institute for Health Policy Studies (Drs Hearst and Hulley), School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

From the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies (CAPS) (Drs Hearst and Hulley), the Departments of Epidemiology and International Health (Drs Hearst and Hulley) and of Family and Community Medicine (Dr Hearst), and the Institute for Health Policy Studies (Drs Hearst and Hulley), School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco.

JAMA. 1988;259(16):2428-2432. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03720160048029
Abstract

THE EPIDEMIC of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic is an unprecedented public health threat; it constitutes the leading cause of premature mortality in some areas of the United States, and it is growing rapidly.1 Until a cure is developed, the only way to control the epidemic is through prevention strategies directed at the three modes of spread of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Preventing spread of infection by infusion or inoculation of blood involves making blood products safe and teaching intravenous drug users how to avoid infection. Preventing the perinatal spread of infection to newborn babies involves testing prospective mothers for HIV antibodies and advising those who test positive to avoid pregnancy or, if already pregnant, to consider abortion.

In this report we consider strategies for controlling the third and most common mode of spread, sexual contact. A recent report by Friedland and Klein2 recommends educating

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