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CDC, the nationís prevention agency, collaborates with its partners to prevent disease, death, and disability. Through prevention, lives can be saved, quality of life improved, and the burden of health-care costs reduced. Prevention research helps us to understand conditions and diseases and who they affect, develop and implement effective strategies and programs to reduce disease and promote health, and develop policies and recommendations that strengthen systems and programs at local, state, and national levels.

This publication focuses on birth defects and human immunodeficiency virus infection/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), two preventable causes of death and disability. The articles focus on programs in several states that are designed to reduce disease and assess disease trends. The primary messages are not new, but need to be reinforced.

  • Periconceptional intake of 0.4 mg of the B vitamin folic acid reduces the risk for neural tube defects 50%--70%.
  • Zidovudine has been used successfully to reduce perinatal transmission of HIV infection.
  • The use of surveillance systems and classification models can help states analyze and interpret HIV/AIDS trends, as well as plan prevention and other program services to address important public health problems.

Science-based prevention efforts must be communicated in a timely and effective manner, whether to a woman making a decision for herself or others, to a health-care professional making decisions regarding patient care, or to a researcher classifying new cases of HIV/AIDS. Communication plays a key role in prevention; this publication communicates public health recommendations that reflect recent research affecting the health of women. Prevention means staying healthy and living well, and prevention works for women.

Yvonne Green
Associate Director
Office of Womenís Health

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Page converted: 5/10/2001


Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Department of Health
and Human Services

This page last reviewed 5/10/2001