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Cookies were originally designed to help a Web site distinguish a user's browser as a previous visitor and thus save and remember any preferences that may have been set while the user was browsing the site. A cookie is a small string of text that a Web site can send to your browser. A cookie cannot retrieve any other data from your hard drive, pass on computer viruses, or capture your email address. Currently, Web sites use cookies to enhance the user's visit; in general, cookies can securely store a user's ID and password, personalize home pages, identify which parts of a site have been visited or keep track of selections in a "shopping cart."

If you browse the American Kidney Fund's web site, make a donation, request an offer, or purchase an item on our web site, we may use cookies so that we can provide personalized information that we believe will be of value to you. For example. if you purchase informational brochures on our site, we may store your shipping address so that you won't have to fill out the same form in the future. Or we may set a cookie so that certain web pages only appear once to enhance your browsing experience.

It is possible to set your browser to inform you when a cookie is being placed—in that way, you have the opportunity to decide whether to accept the cookie. If you are just browsing our site, you do not have to accept a cookie and you may still continue utilizing the site.

Here is how to set your cookie preferences:

Netscape Navigator 3: Select Network Preferences from the Options menu. From the Network Preferences menu, select the Protocols tab and modify your preference if you wish to be warned before accepting cookies.

Netscape Navigator 4: Select Preferences from the Edit menu. From the Preferences menu, select Advanced, and several options for cookies will be listed in the lower right of the menu. Additionally, you may select Help for more details. For further information about the Netscape browser and use of cookies, visit Netscape's Web site.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 3: Select Options from the View menu. Choose the Advanced menu to modify your preference if you wish to be warned before accepting cookies.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 4: Select Options from the View menu. Choose the Advanced menu and scroll to the section labeled "Cookies," where several options are listed. For further information about the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser and use of cookies, visit Microsoft's Web site.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 and above: Internet Explorer 5 and above allows the creation of cookies; however, you can specify that you be prompted before a site puts a cookie on your hard disk, so you can choose to allow or disallow the cookie; or you can prevent Internet Explorer from accepting any cookies. You can even specify different settings for different security zones. To modify cookie acceptance, select Internet Options from the Tools menu. Choose the Security tab and then click on the Custom Level button for each security zone you normally use. Scroll to the section labeled "Cookies," where several options are listed. For further information about the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser and use of cookies, visit Microsoft's Web site.

AOL: If you are using AOL v3.0 or higher for Windows 95 or 98: Select Preferences from the Members menu. Click on the WWW icon and select Advanced. Modify your preference if you wish to be warned before accepting cookies.

If you are using the following AOL browsers, you will not be able to set cookie preferences since these browsers automatically accept cookies:

AOL v3.0 for Windows 3.0, using AOL's proprietary browser or AOL's version of Microsoft Internet Explorer v3.0;

AOL for the MAC, using AOL's version of Microsoft Internet Explorer 2.1.

All other earlier versions of AOL browsers do not support cookies, and therefore cannot authenticate you as a registered user on web sites that involve sending or receiving personal account information.

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