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Thursday, December 2, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 71

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SA leaders to meet with Chartwells

UHPD warns of essay-contest scam

Sigma Chi's 'Fight Night' set for today

Official decision: no football bowl for UH

SA has matured this fall

Education is best weapon in AIDS war

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Counselor offers personal risk assessment tips

By Miriam A. Garcia
Daily Cougar Staff

Many people realize that unsafe sex puts one at risk of contracting HIV ­ and yet they do not change their behavior.

Avila Steele, a doctoral intern for UH's Counseling and Psychological Services, discussed the danger of such attitudes at Wednesday's AIDS Risk Awareness and Reduction Workshop, part of the campus' events marking World AIDS Day.

Steele has been an AIDS educator for years and said prevention of the disease is based on awareness of the leading risk factors.

"Knowledge doesn't equate with behavior," Steele told the three people who attended the workshop. "A lot of people fail to realize that if they slept with ‘Joe,' they're also sleeping with everyone Joe slept with.

"AIDS has become less associated with gay white men and more of an epidemic of heterosexuals and minorities," Steele said.

Getting educated on AIDS risk factors is the first step, Steele said. This allows people to analyze their lifestyles and make changes if they are putting themselves at risk.

"Find ways you can reduce your own risks, no matter how small it seems," Steele said. "Create a risk reduction plan and stick to it."

Some of her advice included using condoms at all times if sexual partners have not had an HIV test within the last six months; reducing the number of sex partners and finding out about partners' sexual histories; avoiding injection with a shared, unbleached needle; and avoiding contact with anyone else's blood.
 

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