It’s what you do

As I read the editorial on Magic Johnson from the Nov. 11 issue of the Star, I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that although the editorial made it clear that anybody can get HIV, it failed to state clearly that it is what we do, not who or what we are, that is important.

Magic Johnson has been very brave in being open about his condition and has made it clear that he intends to use his experience and public image to teach others how to avoid contracting the AIDS virus.

The lesson we are supposed to learn from Magic Johnson’s plight, as well as others who have contracted HIV is that:

‘ The HIV is primarily transmitted by unsafe sexual practices, be it homosexual or heterosexual, and by having an increased number of sexual partners.

‘ HIV is also transmitted by sharing needles, either for intravenous usage of drugs or for other purposes like steroid injections.

‘ Unfortunately, before testing was available, HIV was transmitted to those who don’t have an opportunity to make preventative decisions. These included those receiving blood transfusions to save their lives, or hemophiliacs who needed a blood factor in order to survive, or the innocent children that are still being born to mothers infected with the AIDS virus.

In summary, the message is: avoid any practices that will put you at risk to contract the HIV virus. Be responsible about your sexuality.

If you don’t feel comfortable being sexually active, don’t give in to pressure. If you decide to be sexually active, take precautions and avoid multiple partners. If you are a male, always use condoms; if you are a female, demand that your partner use condoms.

Don’t share needles. If you are already a high-risk individual, get tested and avoid passing the virus to others.

If you would like information about AIDS, call Health Enhancement Services or the Communicable Disease Control Area at the University Health Service.

Sara B. Susmano

Chief of Medical Staff

University Health Service