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Should Young Kids Be Taught About the Risk of HIV/AIDS?

Elton John's AIDS Foundation spreads the message of AIDS prevention with the hope of stopping the spread of the disease. In a new interview with CNN, Elton says that the US has something to learn from Africa when it comes to preventative education. If schools systematically taught American kids about the risk of HIV at a young age, a majority of citizens would know how to protect themselves by the time they became sexually active. Elton explains:

"We find that if we could get into the schools at a grass-roots levels, which we do in places like Africa where we get to kids at a young age and we tell them about preventive measures for not getting HIV, we find the success rate is tremendous."

Not everyone supports AIDS education in schools, however. Some believe it should be up to parents to teach children about sex or that the subject matter is inappropriate for innocent youth. What do you think?


Join The Conversation
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
I learned how to use a condom at age 11. AIDS education should be start at the same age.
notoriuskitty notoriuskitty 8 years
As long as they are learning it in sex ed I don't see why they shouldn't learn about the extreme risks that go along with it
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 8 years
Of course not Tres, we should just keep them in the dark.
Allytta Allytta 8 years
why is it inappropriate? because of such approach kids grow up to be careless and stupid about their sex choices. that and because of the parents that terrified to talk to their child. my mum taught me from very young age that nobody puts needles in me, even in school, without her knowing and me making sure it's was opened in front of me. she taught me about things a could get otherwise (she got hepatitis in the hospital in maternity ward giving birth to my sister).
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
"The STD talk should come with the birds and the bees talk depending on your knowledge of your child's developmental/ emotional readiness." That would have scared the poo out of me as a little kid. I was 6 when I learned what sex was, and if my mom told me about getting sick from having sex with people in the same conversation, I would have been really confused. I think when it comes to "the birds and the bees" talk, it should really be many small conversations over time, and STDs should be near the end.
sham28 sham28 8 years
The STD talk should come with the birds and the bees talk depending on your knowledge of your child's developmental/ emotional readiness.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I love how ambiguous this is. "Young" kids need to learn about HIV. Do you agree, or disagree? How about we get a poll option that says: "I don't have full information to answer this question." Or if that's too long, maybe "Other"?
briglass briglass 8 years
Exposing young kids to suggestive, proto-sexual material to entertain them? YES!! Exposing young kids to suggestive, proto-sexual material to educate them? NEVAR!!
imLissy imLissy 8 years
by the time I got to HS I was absolutely sick of hearing about STDs and really knew everything I ever needed to know about them. That's exactly the way it should be. I think I knew about HIV/AIDS when I was really young b/c I remember my dad telling me not to drink out of a water fountain b/c I could get AIDS and thinking that was ridiculous. It was really a hot topic when I was a kid though.
mguy414 mguy414 8 years
I was lucky enough to go to a private school for middle school and got a very in-depth sex talk every year. One year, three times (long story). When I got into high school, I went to a public school and had to take gym with a bunch of freshmen, and when the teacher said "okay, next week will be sex ed week" they said 'ew gross' and we skipped it, how is that a good thing?! I think we should teach kids about HIV/AIDs in an age appropriate way and if a child has a question that seems more advanced for their age, still answer it, don't just ignore it and say "oh you're too young." And also stress that it is not just a homosexual disease, or a sexual disease, like others said you can get it from sharing needles and things like that. And don't just rely on scare tactics, because kids need to be educated, not just told "you'll die." In fact....this sounds really lame but here it is- for a very long time I was unsure of how one contracts HIV/AIDs...I thought if you had ANY blood-on-blood contact, you got AIDs. Now, I didn't go around sharing my blood with people, but I was still ignorant of how it was contracted.
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
i have told my kids, from the time they were about 2, that you can get sick from the bodily fluids of others. so it started with talking about blood.. we added bodily fluids as things came up (snot, vomit, pee, etc) eventually we got to sperm. we discuss that people can be sick w/o knowing about it and pass it on to others, and i used the example of doctors wearing gloves or washing hands. schools can't even teach the basics, i'll pass on adding something like safe sex to their responsibility.
staple-salad staple-salad 8 years
Of course! I don't even see how this is a question. Some parents (like mine) left the school system to teach me my sex-ed (and since American schools have terrible sex-ed, I did my research on the internet... just so I wouldn't be left thinking that oral meant making-out, know how to use a condom, and learn proper female hygiene). If schools don't teach sex ed, where are some children supposed to get it? And with a culture like ours (where sex as love is taboo, but sex as rebellion and promiscuity is a big part of our media and thusly emulated... and where we ignore that teens get horny [shocker!]), sex ed is exactly what we need in school, and probably a bit earlier than we do now, since kids get sexually curious younger than most people want to admit.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
so true, tripleee!!!!!!!!!!!!
totygoliguez totygoliguez 8 years
YES, the best way to prevent AIDS or any kind of sexual consequence is through education and with education I don't mean teaching them about abstinence I mean teaching them about how their body works, the risk of sex, how can they protect themselves, and that sex has to be practice with responsibility. Sexual education should start scene they are babies.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Kids are much smarter than most parents give them credit. I say its more important for the parents to teach (than the school) because you can tailor the kesson to your child specifically (plus, maybe they would ask more questions wihtout being afraid that the other kids will think they are stupid or whatever).
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Youth is no longer that innocent, so I'm all for education.
tripleee tripleee 8 years
YES. It's called taking preventative measures. We teach our children to wash their hands to avoid germs and look both ways before crossing the street, right?
kia kia 8 years
Teach them. Kids are smart. I didn't have formal school education about HIV/AIDS until I was about 11. I was already aware of it by then. I grew up in Hollywood, CA and my family had friends with it and were passing away by that time. At the time the terms GRID and ARC were used and Ryan White eventually became a symbol that the disease did not just happen to homosexuals and more people needed to learn about it.
le-romantique le-romantique 8 years
Depends on the age, i think. I mean, can 7 year olds really comprehend the subject? But I thnk children aren't taught enough about the REAL world. They learn how to spell and add/subtract, etc... but they really aren't aware about the world around them. I say 11 years old is absolutely appropriate. In NJ, many kids are already having sex at that age... its absolutely disgusting, when I was 11, we were still playing with Barbies... In 5th grade, we had "THE" video... when you learn about anatomy and periods, etc. By 8th grade or so we learned about STDs (in detail, we had them mentioned in 6th or 7th grade though)... but by then so many people already had sex and probably an STD, so it really didnt matter. I'll be 21 on Saturday, I've never had sex- by choice.. I'm well educated and I feel that it is a 'big step' and very emotional... i can't even tell you how many horror stories i've heard from friends, or regrets, about their first time... I don't want to be like that.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
Yes, you should teach kids what they need to know. I was taught about HIV and AIDS in grammar school, and I don't think that was ridiculous. However, starting in middle school (age 11) we started learning about STD's. After all, AIDS isn't something just passed on by I think it's appropriate to bring it up...especially in a DARE class and such, since AIDS is commonly caught by sharing needles and stuff as well as sex.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
Well how young is young? I also think that education should vary by the community. In places where AIDS is more prevalent and children likely know someone with AIDS already, I think it's better to start younger because children should understand what is going on around them. In other places where AIDS is rare, I think it's not necessary to start STD and AIDS education until 6th or 7th grade.
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