You know your kids, whether homosexual or heterosexual, are sexually active. Sure, they’ve heard of HIV that causes AIDS, but because they’re teens, they think they are immortal and will not transmit or “catch” the virus. They are too young to remember the scourge of the 80’s that rendered AIDS an automatic death sentence. No longer incurable, AIDS is still infecting people faster than they can be tested and treated. Half of new HIV infections in U.S. occur in people under 25. Did you know that 3 in 4 Americans don’t have the disease under control?
Teens Want and Need More Information
The Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed 1500 American teens, ages 12 to 17, this past summer and found that all teens regardless of age, sex, race/ethnicity, even if not sexually active, want to know more.
According to U.S. government statistics, 62% of teens, aged 15 to 17, say they have considered getting tested for HIV, and only 48% said they would know where to go for a test should they want to do so.
Whether it’s a HIV test that shows results in 20 minutes or a test that takes three days to conclude, parents should find the nearest testing centers through Planned Parenthood’s website: http://Planned Parenthood.org and direct their children to them. Get the facts about HIV from a reliable source such as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://cdcinfo @cdc.gov) and share your findings with your teen. Even if infected, the earlier your teen starts on antidotes, the quicker his/her treatment will “kick in.” It’s not enough to talk about condoms preventing HIV.
Does your teen know how to use a condom properly? It may be “cool” to carry one in your wallet, but does he know how to use it? Have him/her practice putting and taking off a condom on a banana. Bananas don’t have Erectile Dysfunction.
While YOU may squirm or blush instructing your child, you can be assured that you are fulfilling your parental duty. Make these dialogues ongoing about sexual disease prevention, not just on World AIDS day, December 1.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.