How to Teach AIDS to Kids

Teaching kids about AIDS and HIV is essential to preventing the spread of the disease. The level of understanding will vary from grade to grade, so your approach must vary as well. While young children will understand sickness and disease, they may not easily comprehend methods of disease transmission.

Things You'll Need

  • Age-appropriate educational videos


    • 1

      Learn about HIV and AIDS yourself so you are prepared to answer any and all questions students may have for you. Read the statistics, know the facts and learn how to explain the way the disease works. Familiarize yourself with terms like immunodeficiency so you can talk about them in simpler terms.

    • 2

      Teach children in grades 1 to 3 about how to keep their bodies healthy. Spend an entire unit on caring for themselves, and near the end talk about infectious disease. Children at this age level will just be learning about germs and viruses, and how they can infiltrate the body to make them sick. Stress safety measures, instructing kids not to ever touch another person's blood. They also need to know that AIDS can't be caught the same way you can catch the flu or a cold, and that it's actually difficult to contract HIV. They should also know it's okay to play with and interact with people who are sick with AIDS and they should never treat that person differently just because they are sick.

    • 3

      Use the concept of cause and effect for children in grades 4 to 7. This is about the time when children start thinking about action and consequence, so it's a good time to start talking about taking risks with one's body. Many children in these grades will just be starting to go through puberty and will soon begin looking at sexuality in a whole new light. It is important to start talking about the dangers that come from unprotected sex. Unfortunately, this is also a time when many children will begin experimenting with drugs, so incorporate information on how HIV is transmitted both sexually and through the use of intravenous drugs.

    • 4

      Teach children in grades 8 through 12 with the understanding that they are on a slightly higher level than the generation below them. They may not be as inclined to ask questions as they would have in the years prior, so it's important to air any misconceptions about HIV and AIDS. Students need to know that AIDS is not only transmitted through gay sex, but straight sex as well. They should know about the risks of transmission through intravenous drug needle sharing, dirty tattoo needles, used earrings and any other device that may transmit bodily fluids like blood from one person to another.

    • 5

      Keep the lines of communication open at all times, no matter what age the students are. Be prepared with age appropriate answers, and speak honestly with kids.

Tips & Warnings

  • Incorporate age-appropriate videos into lessons and teach related vocabulary.
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  • Photo Credit Flickr USM Photos

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