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Diseases DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET HIV and AIDS The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV is spread by blood and body fluids from an infected individual. A person who has been infected with the virus is “HIV positive.” They may have no symptoms, but can transmit the virus to others. HIV destroys the body’s immune system so the body cannot fight diseases. There is no vaccine to prevent HIV infection. HIV and AIDS are not common in young children. Most children with HIV infection were infected during or before birth by mothers with HIV infection. Children can get the disease, however, by touching blood or body fluids from an infected person. Here are some concepts you can teach children about infectious diseases, and specifically about HIV and AIDS: 9 9 Blood can contain germs that make you sick. Never touch or taste anyone else’s blood. 9 9 Do not touch objects that may have blood on them, such as needles or weapons. 9 9 You cannot get HIV or AIDS from being in the same room with someone who has it. You cannot get HIV/AIDS from hugging or touching someone’s hand. 9 9 If another child is HIV positive, it is okay for children to play with him or her. Children cannot get HIV/AIDS from playing tag, hide-and-seek, or coloring pictures with a child infected with HIV or a child with AIDS. From Hip on Health: Health Information for Caregivers and Families by Charlotte M. Hendricks. Published by Redleaf Press. www.redleafpress.org. 10 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL