About AIDS

In studies about youth and HIV risk behavior, the only constant predictor of risk that researchers can find is this: Do the child and parent(s) communicate about sex and drugs or not? If they do, the likelihood of risky behavior is less; if not, risk is more likely.

A new survey from the respected Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that kids want to talk early with their parents about sex, but that "the talk" is still hard for the parents. The study found that almost half of parents of 10- to 12-year-olds have not discussed dealing with sexual peer pressure, and 60% have not discussed pregnancy and disease prevention, even though the survey suggests that preteens want the information.

Almost 40% of 10- to 12-year-olds say their peers get information about AIDS, sex, drugs, and alcohol from their mothers, and 40% get information from television and movies and at school. Among 13- to 15-year-olds, 60% reported friends, TV, and movies as their primary information sources, followed by school, the Internet, and mothers, respectively. Obviously, parents have less control over what those outside resources say, and peers in particular are notoriously poor fonts of wisdom.

This shift in information sources is a fundamental manifestation of the development process. If parents want to maximize their influence over their youngsters, they will -- nervous or not -- take advantage of kids' curiosity at the appropriate time.

ASA is always glad to assist parents in obtaining and understanding HIV and STD information, and we have a number of booklets on how to talk "the talk."

--Sandy Bartlett, Community Information/Education Coordinator, AIDS Services of Austin

ASA Info Line: 458-AIDS
E-mail: ASA@fc.net

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Aids, Aids, A.i.d.s., Hiv, H.i.v., Asa, Aids Services Of Austin

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