Kelly's Blog

Twenty years later and we still can’t talk about HIV?

Posted in Family, Information on Thursday, April 15th, 2010 by Kelly - 2 Comments

Just last week much was written about the twentieth anniversary of Ryan White’s death including my thoughts on this blog.

It is surprising to know that students still find it difficult to talk about HIV.  At this week’s University of Maine Know Your Status event, student and peer educator Megan Arsenault said, “Sometimes this is not an issue that a lot of people like to talk about.  Whether they’re embarrassed or scared or just don’t know where the right resources are.” To read more about U Maine’s event, please click here:

Today, many of the parents and grandparents raising children still can’t talk about HIV. It is true that they don’t face the earlier thoughts that casual contact or a blood transfusion could spread the virus, but teens and young adults make up one of the fastest growing segments of HIV infection.

Talking about HIV and AIDS means talking about sexual behaviors — and it’s not always easy for parents to talk about sexual feelings and behavior with their kids. Similarly, it’s not always easy for teens to open up or to believe that issues like HIV and AIDS can affect them.

Even further complicated is talking about drug use and the dangers of sharing needles. Most of the talks I remember about sex and drugs center around don’t do it – not how to do it safely. For a parent to talk about it, they’ve got to believe themselves that the threat is real. We have to know about HIV ourselves.

Want to help someone you love know a little bit more about HIV? Here are a couple of favorite resources that you should check out:

Facts for Life: What you and the people you care about need to know about HIV/AIDS from AmfAR.

What You Should Know About HIV from UNAIDS

HIV AIDS 101 from

HIV Information for Parents from Advocates for Youth

Studies have shown that teens who have discussed sexual contact and protection before they have sex are far less likely to contract an STD or HIV. Talking saves lives.

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2 Responses to “Twenty years later and we still can’t talk about HIV?”

  • Kara says:

    Thanks for this great post Kelly. We have to meet up some time and talk HIV prevention.

    We need strong and powerful voices to get the message to our kids. No more preventable exposure! No more useless deaths from AIDS!

  • Shante says:

    We can’t talk about this because it means sharing so much about our personal lives. I agree Kelly that no other disease carrys the weight of how did you get it.

    Great post! Look forward to seeing more of your thoughts.

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