I just participated – by happy accident – in my first “Twitter Party.” The focus was on HIV and young people and how we can help them make better, smarter, healthier decisions about protecting themselves from HIV. If you Tweet, the hash tags were #HIV #YouthHIV and #NYHAAD.
Here are some facts:
- About 1 in 4 new HIV infections in the US are in people aged 13 – 24.
- Almost 60% of young people with HIV do not know they are infected.
- 1,ooo young people acquire HIV each month.
- 85% of women with HIV got it through heterosexual contact.
- At about age 14, buy condoms for your children and have them in a conspicuous place. A jar in the bathroom, front hallway, etc. Having them available doesn’t encourage them to have sex, per se, but to do it safely, if they are having sex.
- Encourage your boys to masturbate with condoms. This way they will be able to put one on in the dark, one handed, upside down, etc. They will also learn what they feel like, so no excuses about it not “feeling good” when they have sex.
- Tell your girls they are just as responsible for having condoms as the guys and tell them where they can get them. Check out these great new condoms marketed to women – Sustain.
- When your children are 15 (or s0) make STD testing part of their regular medical check up. Their records are completely private, even from you. This will make testing a normal part of health care.
- Talk openly about all the different kinds of sex – vaginal, oral and anal – and be clear about how HIV (and other STDs) are transmitted, what behaviors are most risky and the safest ways to be sexual with someone.
As usual, the only way to make sure your kids are informed about HIV, STDs, sex, sexuality and relationships is if you tell them yourself.