Being a parent isn’t easy. It’s necessary to protect and guide children through any number of pitfalls, and that includes having some difficult conversations. One of those relates to the dangers of AIDS and the necessity for HIV testing.
One of those relates to the dangers of AIDS and the necessity for HIV testing.
As a parent, it can be hard to know how to begin educating your kids on such serious topics. We’re providing some context and suggestions for initiating discussions with your teens.
Why Is HIV Testing Important?
An estimated 33.4 million people around the world are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Of that number, 4.9 million are between the ages of 15 and 24. The UN Programme on Youth is so concerned about the disease’s prevalence among young people, that it’s targeting them with educational efforts and promotional activities meant to stress the importance of HIV testing. Testing is important because scientists believe that a portion of people who have HIV are not aware of it, leading them to continue to engage in risky behavior that endangers others.
Talking to Kids and Teens About AIDS
It’s not easy to talk to young people about AIDS. However, with so many teens and young adults showing positive results after HIV testing, it’s clear that it is necessary to do more to prevent the spread of AIDS. Those efforts can begin in the home by having an honest discussion about sex, AIDS, drug use and HIV testing. As awkward as having a conversation about AIDS and HIV testing may be, the consequences of not doing so are far more dire.
Starting the Conversation
Consider asking your child what they already know about sex. This can provide important clues about gaps in their knowledge. Follow that up by asking them what they know about AIDS, which provides you with a perfect opportunity to clear up any misconceptions they may have about the disease and the ways it’s transmitted. If they are sexually active, encourage them to consent to HIV testing for their own protection.