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Reged: 12/03/09
Posts: 3
telling my kids
      #248684 - 12/03/09 11:05 PM

I have been positive since 2001 and now I am thinking about telling my children that I have HIV and I'm not sure how to go about it or if I should even do it I just want them to hear it from me and not anyone else My oldest son is 15 and my youngest is 11 anyone have any advice?

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Reged: 01/20/07
Posts: 1186
Re: telling my kids new
      #248685 - 12/03/09 11:28 PM

It's not easy telling the kids, but they are amazingly resislient.

Each of our children were told when they were around 10. My daughter because she seem to be at an age that she could handle some of the basics and understand about not telling just anyone. My son, I didn't feel was quite as prepared, but at the time my husband was in the hospital and not expected to live and he needed information.

One reason I feel it's important to tell the children is from a health standpoint. It's OK to teach them universal precautions, but in the event something should happen to you and you are bleeding and can't take care of yourself, they need to be aware of your status and you might be unable to tell them at that point.

Kid's see and know more than we think they do. It may turn out that the one that is surprised is you. When you do plan to talk to them. Make sure it's a time that you won't be rushed or interrupted. They may or may not have questions right away. They may have questions later.

My daughter is now 22 and my son is 20. They've grown up knowing mom and pop have HIV. I think it's given them the opportunity to become better educated about HIV than most kids and that information they can impart to their friends. It made them both aware of the importance of personal responsbility when having sex.

Good luck.

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Reged: 10/21/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Hawaii
Re: telling my kids new
      #248713 - 12/06/09 01:23 AM

I totally agree with you Esmerelda!


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Reged: 10/09/08
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Loc: Johannesburg, Souith Africa
Re: telling my kids new
      #248730 - 12/08/09 01:08 PM

Hi Gigi,

your kids sound like they are at an age where they can process such info. I mostly deal with disclosure to kids that are HIV positive themselves but I'd think the 'procedure' is not much different in your case.

I think before you tell them that you have HIV it is important that they understand what "HIV" is. Otherwise it's really just a scary word that doesn't mean much other than what they might've heard on TV or at school.

What I usually recommend to the parents is to sit your kids down when you have time and are both relaxed (i.e. not rushing to go anywhere, or exams or whatever) and say that you want to talk to them.

You could then ask them what they know or have heard about HIV to check whether they have the right information and if it is enough. Check that they've understood it well before you tell them that you also have it. It's really important that they understand what 'having HIV' means, both physically as well as in terms of how it would impact on their lives.

They might have a lot of questions now or need to have some space to process it first. Also make them understand why you haven't told them earlier if that comes up (this might not be so relevant in your context- I'm just drawing from my experience with infected kids).

With your oldest you could maybe also discuss prevention strategies so that he knows how to protect himself in the future, once he has sex.

The way I usually explain HIV/Immune System/CD4 cells etc. to kids is that I tell them about the 'body soldiers' in the blood that make up the immune system and protect your body from diseases and that there is a germ/virus that lives in YOUR blood that your body soldiers can't fight all by themselves. That's why you take medicines to make the germ sleep, so that the germ can't hurt your body soldiers. That way your body can work just as well as anyone else's, with the exception that you need to keep taking these medicines so that the germ stays asleep.

I hope that helps!

Magnetic Mama

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Reged: 03/30/10
Posts: 1
Re: telling my kids new
      #249920 - 03/30/10 02:11 AM

I was in the same situation with my son who is now 17 years old going on 45. I have known myself to be HIV positive and positive with hepatitis C since March of 1997. At the time my son was only 5 years old back then. I thought about how and when I was going to tell him about his mom since that day. It was a long tortureous ten years before I did. I thought about it every single day and night and 1000 times in between. About 6 months after I found out, my husband divorced me and took my son from me. This thing, this virus, these horrible diseases destroyed my family and eventually my life (I thought). I finally decided to tell him when he was 15. If it were possible, I wouldn't have told him at all, but my ex's family was relentless. I just didn't want to lose him. I also didn't want him to hear it from anyone else. It was like a ticking timebomb. I finally found the right time and right place to tell him about it. NOT. Where is the right place? What is the right time? My heart was pounding so fast I thought it would burst, and I broke out in a cold sweat. Sitting across the table from me was my beutiful, perfect son and I was about to shatter his world. I just came out and explained it best I could and there was no holding back the tears. He was shocked. He looked like someone just punched him, and he sat there confused, scared, and hurt. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. After the initial shock, he just said, so what are we going to do today? For ten long years I stressed and worried myself almost to death of this very moment, and it was gone. As much as I didn't want to tell him, I am glad that I did. I believe it now plays a very big part on his decision making about his own life. My telling him may have very well saved his life from this disease. He needed to know that it made absolutely no difference in our relationship except that now the time we do spend together is more cherished. Only you know your own childrens emotional state and their abilities to cope with things. The only thing I can tell you for sure, is that your children do need to hear from you first. Hope I helped

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