Talking to a child about HIV, whether it is your diagnosis or theirs, is not a one-off event. It means that you now share something together and at times you or your child are going to want to talk about it with each other.
It is important your child knows that you are always happy to talk to them about HIV. Some young people have told us that they feel they cannot bring up HIV in their home. They worry that their parent will get upset or not want to talk about it.
So let your child know that you want them to ask you any questions when they have them.
As with all information, as your child grows older, you need to revisit this and give them age appropriate details, making sure they really do understand it. As with talking about sex, you want to make time for this and do it in a relaxed way when you and your child are doing something nice together, or on a journey somewhere.
It may be that your child does not have any questions, but you can make sure they understand the facts and that they are not worried about you.
In these conversations you can also talk about confidentiality and who else your child can talk to if they need to. If your child does not go to a peer support group, these would be good times to see whether they have changed their mind. You can show them where there are websites and information about HIV. We have a youth area here.
The important things are your child knows:
- They can ask you questions.
- You are always happy to talk about HIV.
- 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.
This way, they can find out what they need to know when they feel they need to know it, and you know they will come and talk to you when they need to.