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Telling my 2 kids, ages 11 and 5. I have HIV encephalitis

Nov 16, 2012

I told my eldest son I had HIV when he was 15. I was very ill at the time with HIV causing my brain to swell. He stopped talking to me, saying it was too much for him to take. I am living with HIV and I need to tell my two youngest children that I have HIV Dementia. They know I always forget stuff and that I've been very ill. Hopefully this will improve with time and more understanding and less stigma, if not a cure. The children's Mum doesn't see why the kids even need to know I have HIV .

Response from Dr. Fawcett

I'm sorry to hear of your condition and your eldest son's reaction to your disclosure. In general, I feel it's important to include children in discussions of their parent's serious health concerns, provided that they are capable of understanding and processing this information. This varies widely depending on age. As you note, both of your children clearly see that something is wrong and it can be confusing if the adults in their world don't acknowledge what is clearly observable. I would work with your physician to determine what and how to tell your children, keeping in mind their emotional and cognitive abilities, as well as their need to know that they will be safe and secure.


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