Home > Teens > Puberty and Sex > Stds > What You Should Know About AIDS
|

What You Should Know About AIDS

Chances are your teen knows far more about AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and its transmission than you do. In most school systems teachers have found innovative ways of conveying the seriousness of the spread of AIDS. Health classes cover how AIDS is spread and how it isn't.

The reality is grim. Studies show that because people with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS and AIDS-related complex) usually don't display symptoms for many years, many of the cases of AIDS that are appearing in people in their twenties were contracted while these individuals were teenagers. You (and your teen) should know the following about AIDS.

How AIDS Is Transmitted

AIDS is transmitted by an infected person in four ways:

  • Through sexual contact
  • By sharing needles while injecting drugs
  • Through transfusion or injection of infected blood
  • Through pregnancy—an infected pregnant woman can pass on the disease to her unborn baby

A person can be infected with HIV and not show any symptoms or seem to be ill in any way. However, even without symptoms the person can transmit the disease to others.

Though they can test for the hidden virus shortly after exposure (three to six months afterwards gives the most accurate results), few teens test for it, and even those who do fail to inform their past or future sexual partners. Even one sexual encounter can result in the transmission of AIDS, so it is vital that teens use adequate protection (condoms) for every sexual experience.

Stress to your teen that precautions for safe sex should be taken until both partners have been monogamous for a period of time and have tested negative for HIV.

How AIDS Is Not Transmitted

AIDS is not an air-born virus. It is transmitted through the blood, semen, and other bodily fluids, and is not spread by the following:

  • Shaking hands, sharing meals, touching doorknobs, or using the same drinking fountains or toilet seats
  • Social kissing, hugging, petting, or cuddling
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Being close to an infected person (or having them serve food to you in a restaurant)
  • Sharing anything from a swimming pool, bed linens, eating utensils, or office equipment, including the telephone

Whether or not AIDS is spread through saliva (such as in French kissing) is currently debated, but the general feeling is that it is unlikely.

|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Teenager © 1996 by Kate Kelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

jack-o'-lantern creator

Design and print
your own
jack-o’-
lanterns!

GO

highlights

Top 10 Free Homework Help Websites
Is helping your child with homework more frustrating and confusing than ever before, thanks to the new Common Core standards? Check out the best free homework help websites to boost kids' success in math, science, English, and more.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

11 Fantastic Fall Apple Desserts
Nothing says fall like the smell of an apple dessert baking in the oven. Use up your family's surplus of apples with our 11 favorite apple dessert recipes.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!