HIV Resources on the Internet

A Guide to Choosing The Best HIV Resources on the Internet

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HIV resources can be found all over the Internet. HIV resources on the Internet can be helpful but can also be misleading and inaccurate. How do we know what we are reading is good information? How do we know the sites we visit are good places to get the answers to our questions? This feature will help you weed out the junk and find the information you need.

Use a Powerful Search Engine

How do we find what we are looking for?

There are millions of sites with topics ranging from AIDS to zebras. To weed through all these sites, we must use a quality search engine. There are several, but a few seem to be more complete and thorough than others. Here are a few of the best.

  • Google: This search engine allows you to do an infinite number of searches from specific to broad using some keywords; in our case terms such as "HIV" or "AIDS." Google returns websites, images and book and journal resources. Google is currently working with universities like the University of Michigan to convert entire libraries to digital form that can be searched on the Internet.
  • MSN: This search engine can be used directly from the Microsoft network homepage. Like Google, using keywords and phrases will get you the information you need. This search engine also can return images as well as text.
  • Yahoo: Another very popular search engine, Yahoo breaks down sites according to topic such as Health Care, Computers, Finance, etc. Once you find the category that serves your needs, keywords will help you narrow down the available sites even further.

    These are just a few of the many search engines available to you on the Internet. Remember, using specific keywords and phrases will improve your search results.

    Use the Most Current Sites

    The Internet has been around years. Unfortunately so has some of its content. When you find a site that fits your search, check if the content is current.

    Some search engines will list the date the page was added. You can also check the dates of the articles or content as you read them. HIV and AIDS science changes rapidly. Content older than 1 or 2 years should be used with care.

    Important Fact!
    Any HIV information found online should be discussed with your doctor prior to taking any action based on that information. In fact, never take any action such as stopping medications, adding medications, or changing doses or treatments, based on information found on the Internet. Information on the web should never replace regular visits with your HIV specialist.

    Use Only Reputable Sites

    The great thing about the Internet is that anyone can have a website. That being said, anything can be said, claimed, or hailed as fact. HIV is no different. There are thousands of HIV- and AIDS-related sites but not all of them should be relied upon to deliver accurate information. Stick to websites that are from reputable sources such as government sponsored sites like the Centers for Disease Control, hospital- and university-based sites like The University of Michigan HIV/AIDS Treatment Program and University of California San Francisco's HIVinsite and sites sponsored by reputable entities like AEGIS.

    And of course, some commercial sites like Verywell's HIV/AIDS site provide relevant, up-to-date, and accurate HIV information. In addition, health-related features and information is reviewed by physicians before being placed on the site.

    Beware of Fraud

    The nature of the Internet provides scam artists and "snake oil salesmen" the perfect venue to peddle their wares. Claims of HIV cures and miracles blanket the Internet. Before investing any money ‚Äčin such products, talk with your HIV specialist to assess the validity of such claims. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

    The Internet can be a valuable tool if used correctly.

    Take these tips and keep them in mind the next time you use the Internet. Remember that knowledge is power and the key to staying healthy is knowing all you can about your disease. Just make sure you are learning from the right places.

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