Telling your children

If you have children when you find out that you have HIV, you may be concerned about the possibility that they have HIV too. Or you may be worried that your relationship with your children will be damaged. You’ll probably be thinking about what, when and how to tell them. A good source of support and information is Body and Soul, which specialises in providing services to families, teenagers and children affected by HIV. You can contact them on 020 7923 6880.

Children can be very perceptive and may worry if they fear their parent or guardian is ill. They need clear and appropriate information to help them understand the situation.

You may find that even very young children will want to know why their parent has to go to the doctor a lot. Some parents find it helps to talk about ‘goodies’ or ‘baddies’ in the blood, which may enable you to talk about illness without actually mentioning HIV. In this way, you can begin to foster an understanding of health and illness which you can build on, adding more details as the child gets older.

Talking to your children about your health and how much information you give them can be complicated. It may help to talk to someone at your HIV clinic or a local HIV organisation about your situation. The Children’s HIV Association (CHIVA) has lots of information for parents on its website: www.chiva.org.uk.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.