Enhancing the health and social wellbeing of children and young people living with HIV

Talking to Others

If your child has grown up living with HIV you have probably been the person in control over who knows this information. When children are told their own HIV diagnosis most are told not to tell anyone else. They may be told specific people in the family know and they can talk to them, or they may be able to access a peer support group where they meet other children or young people with HIV.

It is likely there will come a time when your child decides they want to tell a close friend or a partner that they have HIV. Although this may feel a little daunting, you will need to support your child through this. You may have told someone and so can share this experience. If you have decided to not tell anyone, that is your decision, but as your child gets older they may feel differently and they will still need your support.

Your child will need support in making that final decision to tell someone and working out what they will say. They will also need to be prepared for the possible different ways that person may act.

In this area we have a section on telling your child about HIV in the family and you and your child could look at this and use that to help plan this.

You could plan a time where you and your child have a conversation about HIV. For example you could plan something that you both enjoy, and have a general conversation about HIV, ask them how they are managing their medication, how are the clinic appointments going and is there anyone in their lives they are thinking they may want to tell?  Do this once or twice a year, having the opportunity to check-in with your child.

From our conversations with young people we know a small number tell friends without telling their parent/carer.  This is why it is important you bring this up with them, so they know you will support them in this, even if you feel you do not want to do this yourself.