Helping young people understand HIV

As a child grows older, they need to have an age-appropriate understanding of HIV and why they need to adhere to their medication.


  • Communication: Young children are often told this “medication helps keep you well”, even if they have not had HIV named to them. As children get older and HIV is then named they will gradually need more information about how the medication works, otherwise it can be difficult for children to understand the need to take medication when they are feeling well.
  • Try to make sure you have a good understanding of HIV, including how HIV medication works so you can answer any questions your child may have. Both i-Base and NAM have lots of information to help people understand HIV and their medication.
  • Remember that you can always ask other professionals to talk to a child living with HIV if some questions get too difficult.

The important things are a child knows:

  • They can ask you/or another trusted adult questions whenever they need to 
  • They have a good understanding of HIV
  • They can get other support if they want it
  • Where to access information in their own time
  • That you are OK and they do not need to worry