DEAR ABBY: Recently you ran a letter from "Helen in K.C" that raised the issue of whether or not to include AIDS as the cause of death in an obituary. One statement in that letter concerned me deeply, so I hope you will print this in order to correct the misinformation.
The sentence: "Due to ignorance, many people think AIDS is a venereal disease -- which it is not."
Abby, I am the manager of the AIDS Education Project at California State University, Sacramento. Please advise your readers that AIDS IS a sexually transmitted disease (the term "venereal disease" was phased out several years ago).
AIDS can be transmitted through an infected person by one of three ways: 1) sex (without protection), including penis to vagina, penis to mouth, penis to rectum, mouth to vagina, mouth to rectum, or sharing sex toys; 2) direct blood-to-blood contact, including sharing hypodermic needles, tattoo equipment, sex toys or razor blades; 3) infected mothers may pass the virus to their unborn babies during pregnancy, delivery or through breast feeding.
People who believe that AIDS cannot be transmitted through sex are operating without clear and accurate information. AIDS is a non-discriminatory, equal-opportunity sexually transmitted disease. -- SUSAN FELDMAN, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO
DEAR MS. FELDMAN: The sentence that concerns you concerns me even more because a crucial word was inadvertently omitted. The sentence, "Due to ignorance, many people think AIDS is a venereal disease -- which it is not," should have read: "Due to ignorance, many people think AIDS is exclusively a sexually transmitted disease-- which it is not."
DEAR ABBY: We are 28 third-graders at Sumter Christian School in Sumter, S.C. Sometimes Mrs. Tomlinson reads the class stuff out of your column. You said a lady wanted to name her baby after you but her husband wouldn't let her.
We think Abby is a beautiful name. We have 50 eggs in an incubator in our classroom. They will hatch out to be cute little baby chicks on May 10 and we will name one of our baby chicks Abby after you if that is OK with you.
Could you please send us your picture that you have signed? We will put it on the wall next to the one Mrs. Bush sent us. Write soon, as we are out of school May 31. Thank you and goodbye. Sign this ... MRS. TOMLINSON'S THIRD-GRADERS
DEAR THIRD-GRADERS AND MRS. TOMLINSON: I would be honored to have one of your baby chicks named after me. My picture (signed) is on its way.
What teen-agers need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with their peers and parents is now in Abby's updated, expanded booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)
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