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Discussing AIDS with Young People

Discussing AIDS with young people.

There are three issues about AIDS that most teenagers are interested in discussing. (Note that because AIDS is such a sensitive and controversial topic, permission for discussions in a youth group should be obtained from the organization director and parents.) First, how should we respond to those afflicted with AIDS? To initiate such a discussion the group leader might invite someone afflicted with AIDS or someone who works with AIDS victims to talk to the group. Alternatively, a short scene from a movie about AIDS could be used to generate discussion.

Next, teenagers need to know how sexual activity and taking drugs by needles can lead to AIDS. Teens are not yet a high-risk group, and they know it. Some experts fear that they may, soon. Teens are a high-risk group for other sexually transmitted diseases that can make the body more susceptible to AIDS. This is worthy of discussion. Young people should also consider what a single sexual contact with someone who carries the AIDS virus can mean to their lives.

Finally, young people are interested in a philosophy or theology of AIDS. They want to discuss such questions as

  • What causes diseases like AIDS?
  • Why does God allow such pain and suffering to happen?
  • Does AIDS need forgiveness? How?
  • What priority should AIDS research and treatment receive?
  • What should we do about testing and quarantine?
  • Should children with AIDS be allowed to attend public schools?
  • How would you handle AIDS in your family, with your friends, or in your own life?
Dean Borgman cCYS