|child hides meds
May 21, 2004
I have a child with HIV, will be almost 13. We were unaware of our infection until our child became ill at 4 1/2. Our child knows now what the illness is and what taking the meds means. We attend camp with other infected children every year. Yet our child still hides the med's and I find them around the house. What can I say with out putting fear in my child to take the meds to stay healthy?
| Response from Dr. Frascino
Teens are rebellious by nature. Having HIV makes these turbulent times in an adolescent's life even more confusing. Why would he/she hide their meds? It's easy to guess. (1) They don't want to be different from their peers and (2) The meds most likely make them feel sick.
How do you get around this, knowing that missing doses can lead to drug resistance and lots of problems in the future? Well, considering your child is 13, I suggest you start a policy of "DOT" in your home. DOT stands for "directly observed therapy." You should take responsibility for handing your child's medications to him/her with a glass of water and stand there while he/she swallows them. Hopefully your child is on a once- or twice-a-day pill regimen. If not, talk to his/her HIV specialist to see if a change in therapy to a once- or twice-a-day regimen to improve adherence is an option. With time, your child will better understand the importance of having to adhere to the medication regimen. I would not place the total burden of compliance with HAART on the shoulders of a 13-year-old. Also, work closely with the HIV specialist, and discuss adherence at every visit. The important message for your 13-year-old at this time is that taking or not taking his/her meds is not an option. It will be his or her option in the future, but not now.
I hope that helps.
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