10 tips for talking about AIDS
AIDS education is about living, not about dying.
1. DO assure people it is easy to avoid the AIDS virus by using safe behavior, and that everyday casual contact is safe even with HIV infected persons.
2. DO assure people that they don't need to be afraid of AIDS because the virus only spreads by blood or sexual fluids, i.e., by sharing needles, from infected mother to child, and by unsafe sex.
3. DO suggest that the best method for avoiding AIDS is to stay with one partner for life.
4. DO emphasize the importance of counselling and testing before marriage or before getting pregnant.
5. DO emphasize that testing by itself is not a guarantee of safety. Counselling and education about what the test means are an essential part of testing.
6. DO emphasize that there is no cure and no vaccine and neither is likely for at least 10 years, if then. Prevention is the only method.
7. DO emphasize the economic impact of AIDS. If father or mother has AIDS and die, who will support and care for the family? Who will grow the rice?
8. DO learn the difference between an HIV infected person and a person with AIDS and use the appropriate term.
9. DO use sensitive wording which respects the humanness of all people, e.g., Commercial Service Worker instead of prostitute. Words influence behavior.
10. DO emphasize that an HIV infected person can live a rewarding life. AIDS is not a death sentence.