is clear evidence that AIDS is caused by a virus called
HIV, which is short for: Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
a person becomes infected with HIV, does that mean
they have AIDS?
HIV is an unusual virus because a person can be infected
with it for many years and yet appear to be perfectly
healthy. But the virus gradually multiplies inside
the body and eventually destroys the body's ability
to fight off illnesses.
is still not certain that everyone with HIV infection
will get AIDS. It seems likely that most people with
HIV will develop serious problems with their health.
But this may be after many years. A person with HIV
may not know they are infected but can pass the virus
on to other people.
do you get AIDS?
can get AIDS when the fluids from your body mix with
those of someone who has AIDS. You can't catch it
like the flu and you can't get it just by touching
or being near someone with AIDS, so you and I don_t
have to worry about getting it. (NOTE: If you have
already talked with your child about sex, you should
also add, "You can also get AIDS by having unprotected
sexual intercourse with someone who has the HIV virus.")
kids get AIDS?
few children get AIDS. But if they were born to a
mommy who had AIDS, they could get AIDS when they
were born. A long time ago, some kids who had hemophilia
-- a disease that means their blood doesn't have enough
good cells, so they need to get blood from other people
-- got AIDS when they got blood. But that doesn't
happen anymore. AIDS is mostly a disease of grownups.
(NOTE: If your child already knows about the link
between sex and AIDS, and IV drug use and AIDS, you
might also add, "Sometimes teenagers who have
unprotected sex or who share drug needles get AIDS."
But you should still emphasize that "AIDS is
mostly a disease of grown-ups.")
can you tell from looking at someone if they have
can't. Anyone, regardless of what they look like,
can have AIDS. People find out if they have AIDS after
being tested by a doctor. Therefore, the only way
to know if someone has AIDS is to ask him if he has
been tested and if the test results were positive
all gay people get AIDS?
Homosexuals get AIDS the same way that heterosexuals
do. And they can protect themselves the same way,
won't happen to me!
people think that AIDS is something that other people
need to worry about - gays, drug users, people who
sleep around. These ideas are mistaken. All young
people, whoever they are, wherever they live need
to take the threat of HIV seriously.
chance of becoming infected depends entirely on how
can only become infected with HIV if you engage in
risky activities. If you have sex without a condom
with a number of different sexual partners, or share
needles or syringes with several other drug users,
you increase your chances of coming into contact with
someone already infected.
can only be effective if used correctly. To find out
more about condoms and how to use them, look at the