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

Older Children

Teenagers will probably be equally as embarrassed to be talking about sex as you are!

But if you have started talking to them about sex when they were younger, it will be easier. It is best to do this when you are both relaxed and have a bit of time. It helps to not be face-to-face, so walking somewhere, on a car journey or doing something like cooking are good times for a conversation about sex. But make sure it’s a private space where you cannot be overheard by anyone else.

When you talk to your teenager about sex, you are creating an environment where it is OK to talk about sex and OK to ask questions. If you do not know the answer to a question, tell your child you will find out the answer. These conversations won't just be about sex, but about puberty and how it feels to be a teenager with changing hormones  and bodies, and having more intense feelings.

It is good to personalise these conversations. Talk about the way you felt as a teenager and when you reached puberty, what you struggled with and how you managed this. You could even share what you were embarrassed about, or how your parents/family did or did not talk to you about sex and puberty. This helps remind your child that you have been through similar issues, and even though their experience will be different it also helps them to realise they are not alone.

Showing this side of yourself will show your child that you are being open and that in many ways this is an equal discussion. There are lots of websites, leaflets and books available, some of which are listed in the preparing to talk about sex area.

As with younger child, these conversations are a really good way to bring you and your child closer together and talk about sensitive issues, so will be really helpful for you when you want to talk about HIV with your child an can lay the groundwork for these conversations.