It appears that as children age and their concepts of the world develop, their understanding of illness changes to match that con-ceptualization. Young children do not make a distinction among different types or severities of illnesses, but develop their understanding of all illness in the same way. Therefore, whatever a young child can understand about the common cold, he or she can understand about AIDS. Students should be taught as much about AIDS as they are prepared to understand. AIDS education, then, should be keyed to children’s level of development. Young children have a very low ability to understand disease and illness, and so should not be sad-dled with terminology and details that will mean nothing to them. Older children and teenagers, with a progressively larger ability to conceptualize disease, should be given as much information about AIDS as they can comprehend. Just as is true in all educational endeavors, the outside edge of students’ understanding should always be challenged.