While looking through some of my schoolwork from second grade, I found a nine-page AIDS coloring book. At first I was pretty surprised to see that, at such a young age, my former public school had attempted to teach me about a disease primarily spread through sex and intravenous drug use, but then I discovered that they didn’t actually teach me anything of use about AIDS anyway.
Check out the coloring book and shake your head in disgust… except at the coloring, which I did all by myself. Not to brag, but I used to be pretty gifted with a Crayola.
The message I take away from this book is “Wash your hands or you’ll get AIDS!” At that age, the only thing that kids know about AIDS is that you die when you get it, so why not scare these impressionable young minds into practicing good hygiene by convincing them that AIDS is everywhere and as common as the flu?
If the educators who came up with this coloring book didn’t think kids were ready to actually comprehend AIDS – which, fair enough, I was still clearly trying to master coloring inside the lines – then not addressing the topic at all is better than spreading misinformation.
Also, in spite of his tuxedo, Germfighter Gorilla strikes me as a bit of a creep, so I’d be wary of letting him teach kids his “special way” of washing hands. Might he be the “dirty” “pet” that requires you to “wash carefully” after “playing with”?
Either way, don’t forget to scrub those hands after “toileting” (they won’t even say pooping!) or you might contract HIV.
For a more responsible way to teach children about HIV and AIDS, try the resources available through New York’s Department of Health website.