Esmeralda, Oakland, Calif.; Diagnosed in 1998
My kids were around eight and nine years old, and one day we told them I was HIV positive. I thought it was time. I've always been with them. I always took them with me when I went to groups. I always took my pills in front of them. I never hid anything from them. They didn't know what I was taking medicines for, or what the groups were that I went to. Sometimes at the support groups, doctors would explain about HIV, about medicine and things like that. My children would hear, but they never came to me and asked anything about why I went to these groups.
I have a friend who has a child who's HIV positive. They told their family's story on television. My children saw that, and they saw the little friend who used to play with them who's HIV positive, and her mom telling her story. It didn't show on my children's faces, but they recognized. Then we sat with them and talked to them and explained what HIV is, and that you never make anybody feel bad because they have this condition. Then as well, we told them that I have this condition and that their father died from this condition.
One day they started paying more attention when we'd go to the groups or when we'd see something about HIV on TV. They started reading about it and then asking questions more often. They take it great. They have questions, and we answer according to the question they ask. For now, they have no problem with anything having to do with HIV or AIDS.