What do Your Kids Know about HIV?

Most of you know that having an accurate understanding of HIV is an important issue for our family. As of yet, my children haven’t gone through a public school presentation on HIV/AIDS, but my friend’s children have. What Jodie saw when she reviewed the curriculum used in her children’s schools made her angry because it was outdated and appallingly inaccurate. Even worse, it was intended to instill fear in the students.

We’ve come a long way in our knowledge and treatment of HIV in the world, but sadly, educational materials have been left lagging far behind. Leave it to Jodie to tackle this problem.  She started an initiative to produce four films that will be available to schools around the country.  Together with Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Department of Education in Washington state, she is in the process of getting this done.

You can read her thoughts about the project on her sister-in-law’s blog, Rage Against the Minivan. Please take a moment to watch Jodie’s video.

I’m having a great time with Hannah – it’s so sweet to be here with her.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Deborah
    September 13, 2013

    My adopted son knows that his biological mother became infected with HIV some time after DCF took the children from her. He knows that he and his sisters have been tested and are not infected. He knows that HIV can make a person very very very sick if they don't make good choices to take exceptional care of themselves, and this is highly likely when it comes to his bio-mom. I would love to have something that would explain it better than I can.

  2. Katie
    August 6, 2017

    We adopted a daughter from South Africa in 2014. She is HIV positive. In South Africa, she liked a television show called Takalani Sesame (it’s literally the South African version of Sesame Street). One of the characters on the show is a yellow monster named Kami. She is HIV positive and lost her mother to AIDS, just like our daughter. Kami was created to educate both children and families about HIV and AIDS in South Africa, since millions of children are infected and stereotyped and millions more have lost a parent due to AIDS. My daughter loves Kami, and she owns a stuffed Kami toy given to her by an HIV organization that came to the orphanage to educate the kids. At home, she likes to watch Takalani Sesame online (YouTube is a wonderful thing) and she will only watch the episodes with Kami in it. I find it fascinating that a puppet on television has helped my daughter to not be ashamed of her HIV. When my daughter takes her medicine, Kami takes her “medicine”, too (some Smarties that I give my daughter to wear off the bitter taste of the liquid). I commend Sesame Street for working in South Africa and creating this character, who inspires my daughter so much. The only thing that stinks is that there are no Takalani Sesame DVDs to buy and she can’t really watch episodes on TV because the show airs in South Africa.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      August 8, 2017

      Thank you for mentioning this, Katie. I’ve never heard of Takalani Sesame and wonder if these episodes on YouTube would be helpful to many other children living with HIV. I’ll have to check them out!


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