Misinformation about HIV in textbooks for schoolchildren (3)

3 October, 2019

Dear All

Thank you Neil for your post alerting us to the research about inaccurate information about the consequences of HIV, in school textbooks [http://www.hifa.org/dgroups-rss/misinformation-about-hiv-textbooks-schoo.... This is something I have come across too and the lack of basic, accurate health information (and the perpetuation of unhelpful myths) is one of the several reasons that I founded Children for Health.

For those interested we have co-created 100 messages for children aged 8-14 to learn and share. Ten of these are linked to the topic of HIV and AIDS. (Click

on this link to see them or they are set out below). https://www.childrenforhealth.org/the-collection/hiv-aids/. We now have all these 100 messages available online in 18 languages. https://www.childrenforhealth.org/other-languages/

We also have prepared the 100 messages plus ideas for educational activities to do with children in each of our 10 keys topics - as PDF's and these are available in 16 languages from our website. If you want these booklets then click this link to go to our FREE resources section and you will find all the language booklets if you scroll down. The ASSAMESE language booklet is about to go into the second edition! Please get in touch if you want Assamese language and I will send it to you next week! A member of this community has helped us with the revisions. THANK YOU!


Please find below the 'section' from our booklets on HIV and AIDS. Let us know what you think! We value your feedback a great deal and often make revisions as a result.

We are also seeking funding to make an HIV and AIDS poster and story book for our series. If anyone from this community knows where we might seek this funding, please contact me.


The 100 Health Messages for Children to Learn & Share are simple, reliable health education messages aimed at children aged 8-14. So this includes young adolescents aged 10-14. We feel that it is especially useful and important to make sure that young adolescents aged 10-14 are informed because this age group are often caring for young children in their families. Also, it’s important to recognise and praise the work they are doing to help their families in this way.

The 100 messages are comprised of 10 messages in each of 10 key health topics: Malaria, Diarrhoea, Nutrition, Coughs Colds & Illness, Intestinal Worms, Water & Sanitation, Immunisation, HIV & Aids and Accidents, Injury and Early Childhood Development. The simple health messages are for parents and health educators to use with children at home, in schools, in clubs and in clinics.

Here are the 10 messages on Topic 10: HIV and AIDS

1. Our body is amazing, and every day there are special ways it protects us from getting diseases from the germs we breathe, eat, drink or touch.

2. HIV is a germ called a VIRUS (the V is for VIRUS). It is an especially DANGEROUS virus that stops our body protecting itself well from other germs.

3. Scientists have created medicines that stop the HIV from being dangerous but no one has found a way to remove it from the body completely.

4. After time and without medicine, people with HIV develop AIDS. AIDS is a group of serious illnesses that make the body weaker and weaker.

5. HIV is invisible and lives in blood and other liquids in the body that are made during sex. HIV can be passed (1) during sex, (2) from infected mothers to babies and (3) in blood.

6. People protect themselves from getting HIV from sex by (1) not having sex, (2) being in a faithful relationship or (3) having sex using condoms (protected sex).

7. You can play, share food, drink, hold hands and hug people with HIV and AIDS. These actions are safe and you will not catch the virus this way.

8. People with HIV and AIDS sometimes feel afraid and sad. Like everyone, they need love and support, and so do their families. They need to talk about their worries.

9. To help themselves and others, people who think they may have HIV or AIDS must go to a clinic or hospital for testing and counselling.

10. In most countries, people who are HIV positive get help and treatment. A medicine called antiretroviral therapy (ART) helps them to live long lives.

These health messages have been reviewed by expert health educators and medical experts and are also available on the ORB health website:


Here are some ideas for activities children can do to understand more about the topic and share the messages with others.

HIV and AIDS: What Can Children Do?

• MAKE our own HIV and AIDS messages using our own words in our own language!

• MEMORISE the messages so we never forget them!

• SHARE the messages with other children and our families

• COLLECT leaflets and information about HIV and AIDS and share these with our community.

• INVITE a health worker to our school to answer our questions about HIV and AIDS.

• FIND ways to help any children in our community who are affected by AIDS.

• PLAY The Lifeline Game and find out about risky behaviours that could put us in contact with HIV.

• CREATE and PLAY a True and False Game about the ways HIV can pass from person to person. Use the ASK questions at the end to help.

• LEARN life skills to help us talk about special friendships and our sexual feelings.

• PLAY the Fleet of Hope Game and find out which safe behaviours we would choose to protect us from HIV in our special friendships.

• THINK of all the difficulties someone with HIV or AIDS has to face and what we can do to help.

• ROLE PLAY having HIV and find what it might be like to be someone with HIV.

• LISTEN to and discuss stories about people who are living with HIV and the problems they face.

• MAKE a quiz to find out what we know about HIV and AIDS.

• START a question box in our class for our questions on HIV and AIDS.

• MAKE a poster for our school about HIV and AIDS.

• MAKE a play about a girl called Meena or a boy called Rajeev and her mum who has HIV and how Meena persuades her mum to go to the clinic to get ART (anti-retroviral therapy) medicine.

• START an HIV and AIDS Action club to raise awareness in our school and with our families.

• ASK how does our immune system work? What foods help our immune system stay strong and ready for action? What is HIV and what is AIDS? What do the letters stand for? What happens when someone finds out they have HIV? What happens when someone develops AIDS? How is HIV passed from person to person? How is it not? How can we protect ourselves against it? How are people tested and treated for HIV? How can medicines help reduce the risk of mothers passing HIV to their babies? How does ART (anti-retroviral therapy) work and when should someone take it? When and how do our friendships become sexual relationships? How does a person use a condom correctly? (Male/female) What are the best ways to support our friends and family who are living with HIV stay healthy and well? Where is the closest

clinic that helps people with HIV and AIDS?

For more specific information on The Lifeline Game or the Fleet of Hope Game or an example of a True or False Game, or any other information please

contact www.childrenforhealth.org or clare@childrenforhealth.org

HIFA profile: Clare Hanbury qualified as a teacher in the UK and began her career teaching 6-13 year old children in schools in Kenya and Hong Kong. For many years, Clare worked for The Child-to-Child Trust based at the University of London's Institute of Education where, alongside Hugh Hawes and Professor David Morley she worked to help embed the Child-to-Child ideas of children's participation in health into government and non-government child health and education programmes in numerous countries. Clare has continued to work to promote these ideas as a freelance adviser and trainer. She has worked in East and Southern Africa, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Yemen. In 2013, Clare founded Children for Health, a British Registered Charity that provides accurate engaging health information for those working or living with children and inspiring them to use fun methods to mobilise children as health activists in their families and communities. Clare is a member of the HIFA Working Group on Information for Citizens, Parents and Children. http://www.hifa.org/projects/citizens-parents-and-children Email: clare.hanbury AT zen.co.uk