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Discussing AIDS and Sex with Kids

AIDS Talk: How Young Is Too Young?

I recently read an article in the New York Times about two young girls (ages four and six) who were featured in a new documentary, Please Talk to Kids About AIDS.

Vineeta and Sevilla Hennessey attended the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto with their filmmaker parents. There, the girls asked AIDS experts, condom distributors and sex toy manufacturers tough questions about the virus and sex.

To see what the reaction was to the girls,


With their parents filming, the precocious babes inquired, "How does AIDS get into your body?" and "Do you know what a virus is?" Vineeta, 6 sat by a bowl of condoms and explained their use. She said:

These are condoms, that you put in the boy's penis, so they don't get AIDS with a women or with a man. A man can do it with a man if you like it.

My niece is the same age as Vineeta and I just can't imagine her discussing sex and condoms. I am positive my sister is nowhere near ready to discuss the birds and the bees with her though it will be sooner than later.

The mother of the two young journalists asserts there is no right age for the topic. She said, "It's when they're ready to ask. It's our own discomfort that's the problem, not theirs. Kids don't have taboos."

What do you think? Do you think kids are ever too young to discuss things like sex or AIDS?


LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
facin8me I'm sorry but I just don't agree. My two year old asked me where babies came from. She's old enough to ask, so do I tell her? Heck no! Obviously, I give her an age appropriate description. (They come from the hospital, duh! I kid, I kid...) And I think a child asking about something to a parent they trust is entirely different than what these parents are doing. This child is six years old, and this is her after-school activity? Sorry, I'll stick to gymnastics class. And I'm with lickety split, no way on EARTH would my kids have a playdate with those kids!
facin8me facin8me 9 years
As the the article points out- it is parents own discomfort talking about sex that is the problem, not children learning it. If a child is old enough to ask the pertinent questions, he or she is old enough to be told straight and factual answers about the ways that human bodies work. And that includes sex. To assert that is is child abuse to teach children about sex is preposterous. It's child abuse to keep them in a state of ignorance about life if they are curious enough to ask and understand. It's child abuse to keep them in the dark about the birds and bees because you are too uncomfortable to discuss it.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
sex and love are not the same thing. and at 6 no child needs to be told that a penis is used for sexual pleasure in the body opening of another person. with all the things that a child needs to know to get a good start in life it seems odd that these parents would find the need to spend SO much time focusing on sex. tell you one thing, these are not kids i would be letting my children play with. can you imagine play dates at their house? no thanks! and bithday parties, gotta wonder about the gift bags.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I rememember when I first heard the word AIDS, It was in 1984 and I was 11 years old playing tag in the pool with my best friend Nanette and her brother Norman and he was coming after us with some floaty thing saying "if i tag you you have AIDS" and I was all "whats AIDS" and went home and asked my mom and she explained it. I think 6 years old is too young for sex talk, maybe around 8 they would start to comprehend it.
Moms Moms 9 years
I think what age depends on where you live and your surroundings. I've known about AIDS since I was in grammar school because a child who attended my school died from it. And being that I have friends who have AIDS, it's just a fact of life for our family. As far as the gay relations mentioned in the previous comment, sex is sex. I am already teaching my children that love is no different whether it's between a man and a woman, two men or two women. And, the kids witness it themselves since we have gay family members and friends.
TheJadedMball TheJadedMball 9 years
In my opinion, YES 6 years old is too young to be discussing sex, and men 'doing it' with other men!! If I heard something like that come out of a 6-year-old's mouth, I would tell them, "that is a bad word, don't say it again!". I definately would not begin a discussion with them about sex, and what condoms are used for. I do believe that children should be educated about these things, but wait until they are around 13 for goodness sake.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
Six years old? In my opinion those parents are insane and hurting their children in ways they can't even grasp now. Why does a penis have to be sexual at age 6? When you're a child, a penis is for... peeing! What purpose did these parents have for bringing their kids to an adult function like this? It's one thing to have this sort of (inappropriate) conversation between parent/child, but another to make a statement with it.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
a 6 year old having a graphic discussion about sex is child abuse. a 6 year old does not need to know about a penis in a sexual way. telling children that what comes out of your body can carry germs so we are very careful not to touch blood and we don't share tooth brushes, etc is all you need to say right now. children are very curious and will ask questions as they age and are able to understand more. this is the age of disney princess and the tooth fairy. absurd and frankly sickening. well see how young these girls are when they become sexually active. 10 maybe? but it's okay, right? they're using condoms.
m0use m0use 9 years
I was told about all that fuz when I was pretty young. I just didn't care though. Honestly, I still don't care and I'm 23. I'm not stupid. I don't understand why parents are so freakishly uncomfortable about what made that child in the first place. It seems it is the parents who need to grow up :).
starbright14 starbright14 9 years
If there was such a thing as "too young," there wouldn't be pregnant 12-year-olds in my OB/GYN waiting room.... It might be difficult, and it would be important to discuss when it is appropriate to discuss such matters... but too young? I don't really think so.
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