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Prevention and Education

Knowledge is truly powerful when it comes to AIDS prevention. Knowing how the virus is transmitted, how it affects the body and methods of prevention can save millions from infection.

Here are only a few ways in which countries are actively educating their citizens on prevention:
Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT)    
Voluntary counseling and testing are key components when caring for AIDS victims and decreasing transmission. Making these services voluntary has proven more effective than creating a mandatory AIDS testing program.

Through VCT, people can learn how HIV is transmitted, practice safer sex, get an HIV test and decrease their chances of becoming infected or infecting others. These programs are most successful if treatment programs are available as an incentive to testing.
Targeted Programs    
More aggressive prevention and intervention programs are essential for groups that are more susceptible to HIV. It requires making prevention methods more readily available for high-risk groups and to ensure programs are tailored to meet the needs of the target audience – especially youth.  
Treatment Centers    
Making AIDS treatment centers accessible and prevalent in communities makes it easier for people to get the testing and help they need. Available treatment centers make a positive impact on stopping the disease. Not only do these programs help keep people alive, they also strengthen the prevention activities in the area.  

Awareness Programs
Inadequate education about human sexuality and HIV/AIDS has deadly consequences. Studies indicate that school-based education programs that teach basic viral education not only provide young people with potentially life-saving information, but reinforce healthy norms by providing youth with a supportive environment that involves parents and other community members.

These efforts have resulted in young people in Uganda delaying their first sexual experiences, which is a critical factor in that country's success in slashing rates of new infections.

In Uganda, HIV infection rates have fallen for the eighth straight year from 29.5 percent in 1992 to only 11.25 percent in 2000. This is a direct result of communication programs that reach down to the village level.

A Renewed Commitment
AIDS is still running rampant across the globe and current prevention efforts are not enough. The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS 2001 declared a new commitment towards the fight against AIDS.

As part of a comprehensive response, each government pledged to pursue a series of benchmark targets relating to care, prevention, support, treatment and children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS.

Blood Supply
Nearly 20 percent of all donated blood throughout the world is not tested for infections that can happen through transfusions. Even though there are HIV diagnostic tests available, many countries are unable to provide safe blood for transfusion due to lack of funds for test kits. With funding, an easy and cost-effective screening test for blood can be bought for these countries.
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