AIDS: TRADING FEARS FOR FACTS A Guide for Teens by Karen Hein MD & Theresa DiGeronimo (Consumer Reports Books: $3.95, illustrated

Hein and DiGeronimo debunk the myths about AIDS spread by the ignorant and fearful: The disease is not a modern Black Plague or divine scourge. It cannot be transmitted through casual or social contact. Students have nothing to fear from classmates who test HIV-positive or have AIDS.

The book's primary aim is to prevent the spread of the disease, and the authors provide frank explanations of how to use condoms and sterilize needles. Their message is clear: While abstinence from certain sexual activities and intravenous drug use is the only sure way of avoiding exposure to the AIDS virus, these precautions can help protect people who cannot or will not abstain.

Although its straightforward tone might appall Jesse Helms, "Trading Fears for Facts" should be required reading for high school students everywhere. Allowing them to remain ignorant places their lives in jeopardy.

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