Supporting Them take their Medicine
The first thing you can do to encourage a child to take their medication, if you also have HIV, is to lead by example and take yours in an open way. We know that when parents/carers have a problem taking their own medication the child often will too.
As a child gets older, it is important not to ‘nag’ them, but to support them in taking responsibility for their medication (whilst keeping an eye on it in the background). This can be a difficult time and you may sometimes feel powerless.
Doctors and nurses have told us that most children who take their medicine well when they are young, even though they may have a short time in adolescence where they struggle to take it, are likely to work through this and take it again effectively as young adults.
- Take medication together as a form of encouragement and bonding. Lead by example and take your medication punctually and regularly.
- When a child is small: Make taking medication part of the daily routine – for example, you shower, get dressed, brush your teeth, take your medication. This helps to normalise HIV, and get into a good routine for life.
- Link taking medication with nice things. You could let them have a favourite snack with their medication, spend some nice time together after or if you take it at bedtime, read them a bedtime story. Try to give them the message that something nice will follow taking their medication.
- If you are a parent/carer not living with HIV, make the time that your young person takes medication special, and congratulate them for taking the medication and looking after themselves.
- If possible, a child living with HIV should get to meet other children living with HIV. This can happen at HIV support groups or by attending the Chiva Freedom 2 Be support camp where they have the chance to see other children also taking medication. We have a list of support groups here and Chiva has a number of other opportunities they could get involved in.