Feb 14, 2006
HOW DO WE TELL OUR KIDS THEIR HIV STATUS
Response from Dr. Horwath
Whatever you tell your kids needs to be appropriate for their age. If they are too young to understand, then it wouldn't be helpful to give them information that they cannot use. Choosing the age means that you need to make a judgment about your childs ability to comprehend. If a child develops symptoms, then they deserve some explanation of what is causing their illness, but it should be consistent with their level of understanding.
Adolescents and pre-adolescents are certainly capable of understanding an explanation of HIV infection and its treatment. It may be helpful to speak with their pediatrician to help in the process of explaining and answering their questions about HIV. Also, you will need to be prepared to answer questions about how they were infected. This may mean answering some questions about mother-to-child transmission and how HIV came into the family.
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