In the UK, most young people growing up living with HIV were born with the virus. Unlike those who get tested as an adult, this often means that the young person doesn’t find out about their HIV status at the time it is first diagnosed even if they are already taking HIV medication. Our guidance recommends that you consider telling children about their HIV at the age of six, and that most children will be told by the age of nine. See our guidance on naming.

At this age, children are less likely to know what HIV is already, and there is an opportunity to share information and build hopes for their future, before they access any misleading information or hear about any stigma towards HIV.

For young people and adults alike, it can feel difficult talking about HIV. Finding out about HIV in particular is a different experience for a young person. How a young person is told about their HIV status can impact how they talk about it with others and whether they feel comfortable with their HIV status.

Watch part one of our Life Growing Up film below, which focuses on the different ways children and young people have been told about their HIV status.

Within a household and family, it is not uncommon to find that some family members know about a young person’s HIV status and others (often HIV negative siblings) do not. Sometimes this can cause tension, as a young person may want to share their HIV information, and an adult may not want them to. A way to help ease this tension can be by thinking about each other’s point of view: