Internet Explorer, being the most commonly used web browser, has become the primary target of virus and malware writers (Microsoft has helped things along by writing easily hacked software). As a result, many people have switched to other browsers (Firefox, Opera, etc) and would like to remove IE from their system.
Unfortunately, IE is integrated into the operating system, so it's not a good idea to try to remove. However, you can disable access to it. Also, if you don't run IE then it's not likely you're getting viruses just because it's on your computer. However, if you don't need Internet Explorer to browse the web you can disable it to keep it from being spawned and/or infected by malware or viruses.
Here's How to disable IE on XP (Vista and Win7 users should be able to use the instructions with a little slight variations of the same procedure):
Click on Start->Control Panel (or Start->Settings->Control Panel).
Click on "Add/Remove Programs" (If you don't see this then click on "Classic View" in the left panel and it should show up).
In the Add or Remove Programs window, click on the Set Program Access and Defaults.
Choose the Custom option in the Choose a configuration: area.
In the Choose a default Web browser: area, uncheck the Enable access to this program check box next to Internet Explorer.
Click OK. Windows XP will apply your changes and the Add or Remove Programs window will close automatically.
At this point IE should not load and run. That's about as close to uninstalled as you can safely get.