Talking to Kids About Aids

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AIDS is one of humanity’s biggest problems today.

According to the UNAIDS and WHO (World Health Organization) July 2008 Report, in 2007, the facts are alarming:

32.9 million adults (aged 15+) and children living with HIV/AIDS.

2.7 million new HIV infections among adults (aged 15+) and children.

2.0 million adult (aged 15+) and child deaths due to AIDS.

2.0 million children (15) living with HIV/AIDS.

50% percent of adults (age 15+) living with HIV/AIDS are women.

0.6% prevalence among young women (aged 15-24).

Among men, it is 0.8%.

Among women, it is 0.4%.

It is very important that kids are well informed about this disease – a disease we have yet to find a cure for.

Parents have difficulty discussing AIDS with their kids because it will naturally lead to the topic of sex. They are afraid it may be too soon for them to talk to their kids about it. Or that talking about it will encourage children to experiment early.

Statistics show that talking to kids properly about sex and AIDS has a lot of benefits:

Talking to your kids about HIV and AIDS increases the likelihood of delaying sex. It also discourages them from engaging in unsafe behavior.

Discussing AIDS and HIV lowers the likelihood of unprotected sex. Teens are three times more likely to use a condom if the topic of using condoms is discussed before they had sex.

Teens who talk about sex with their parents are seven times more likely to be comfortable about discussing HIV and AIDS with their partner.

Before starting your conversation, first you must set the right tone. Begin with discussions about body parts. After that, you can get started with the more sensitive aspects.

Teach your kids that it’s okay to say no respectfully. This will not only help them know what to do when that moment comes, it will also help them gain the confidence to say no to other irresponsible behavior such as smoking, drinking and doing drugs.

Also make your kids appreciate and see the importance of having a healthy body

Some tips for talking with kids about sex and AIDS

Talking about sex and AIDS is not a one-time session. For one, it’s too much to digest for young minds. Having a number of discussions also allows you to gauge how much your child has learned and understood.

It’s usual to feel uncomfortable talking to your child about sex and AIDS. It helps to be upfront about it.

There are a number of opportune moments to discuss these topics so take advantage of them. It could be condom commercials, public service announcements about HIV-AIDS, childbirth, etc.

During these discussions, give your child your full attention. Ask your child questions to see how much he/she has understood. Check for subtle hints showing that your child doesn’t understand some parts of the discussion or that he/she can’t absorb anymore for now.

If your child asks questions about sex and AIDS and it’s not a good time or not the right place to discuss it, tell them that you’ll discuss it another time at the proper place. Keep your word.

What to say to your kids:

Kids hear a lot of things from other kids. If you hear wrong ideas about HIV-AIDS from your child, correct them right away.

If your child has questions you can’t answer, look it up.

On your first discussion about sex, do not include AIDS right away, that might frighten your kid or give them the wrong idea. Since AIDS is a deadly disease, be prepared to talk about death too.

If you have more than one child, discuss sex and AIDS with them separately to allow for a more age-appropriate discussion. Use simpler terms with the younger kids.

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