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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Talking About AIDS with Young Children
Quackenbush, Marcia
March 2, 1989
Focus: A Guide to AIDS Research (03/89) Vol. 4, No. 4, P. 1

Age-appropriate and accurate information about AIDS is something children want and deserve, write Marcia Quackenbush of the University of California San Francisco AIDS Health Project and Sylvia F. Villarreal of the University of California San Francisco and the Kempe Risk Clinic and Early Childhood Services. Children, who probably have heard something about AIDS and may be afraid, will look to parents and teachers for guidance. Giving children accurate information and reassurance can have a major impact on the epidemic. Although they may be uncomfortable discussing the topic, parents and providers should make answers simple and direct. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that AIDS education for young children be part of a comprehensive school health education program. The CDC says children should learn that AIDS is an illness that makes some adults very sick, but does not affect many children; it is difficult to get and you cannot get it from touching or being near a person with AIDS; and scientists are working on a cure and on ways to keep people from getting it. These are minimum guidelines. Foster children, children at risk, and children in families where friends or relatives have AIDS may require more detailed information or more reassurance.