|AIDS Resource Manual - A Guide for Teaching about AIDS in Thailand (Peace Corps, 1993, 83 p.)|
|Section II - Teaching about AIDS|
Very young children need only the most basic information: that there are many serious diseases and AIDS is one of them and that there is little danger either you or they will get it. Beyond that, your major job is to provide a basis for the more detailed education they will need later.
Children in elementary school need more information. Although they're still not ready to hear all the details, they do need to know that AIDS is caused by a virus. Reassure them that they can't get it from casual contact such as door knobs, toilet seats, hugging, glasses, dishes, coughing or sneezing.
Listen carefully to the child's questions. If she/he seems particularly concerned or curious about transmission, you may need to be more specific. Explain that AIDS is passed during sex or when using needles to take illegal drugs with someone who has AIDS. Try to keep your answers simple and concrete. Let them know AIDS can be prevented and that neither of you is likely to get it.
Teach about good social and cultural values.
Finally, teach them some basics about disease transmission in general. When they cut their finger or scrape their knee, explain that one way disease enters the body is through the blood.
In middle school years, children need a better understanding of the facts. Between ages 9 and 12, you will need to be increasingly specific about transmission and prevention of AIDS.
By early adolescence, children should know that AIDS is transmitted mainly through IV drug use and sex; that it is passed through blood, semen and vaginal secretions; and that you can get it from vaginal and anal intercourse and oral sex. They need to know that using condoms can help prevent AIDS. Let them know that they can talk with you about AIDS.
Introduce ideas on non risk behavior and give suggestions on how to avoid risk behavior.