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January 4, 2008

Kids Grill AIDS Experts in New Film

In a documentary entitled Please Talk to Kids About AIDS, two sisters—aged 4 and 6—talk to top experts in the HIV/AIDS field about the virus and get some straightforward, jargon-free answers, Voice of America News reports (, 1/3).

Filmed at the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto, the short film follows Vineeta and Sevilla Hennessey—now aged 7 and 5 respectively—as they talk HIV with experts and activists such as science writer Laurie Garrett and AIDS researcher Dr. Anthony Fauci. The main topics of conversation included what HIV really is and how it is transmitted.

“To have children, in their innocence, ask those questions and really force people to give a straight answer to this, I think really exemplifies why we need to talk straight about HIV,” Fauci told VOA News.

While the film delves into some mature subject matter—including talk about condoms, sex and prostitution—the girls’ parents support the film and are both public health advocates. Of course, this doesn’t mean that some of the answers Vineeta and Sevilla received did not raise questions of their own.

“Some of them were real difficult—like sexual,” says Vineeta. “I was like, ‘Whoa, what is that?’”

According to the article, the film is currently being considered for use as an educational tool by several global and domestic nongovernmental organizations committed to fighting the epidemic.

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