What does it mean being a parent with HIV?
HIV is short for human immunodeficiency virus. This is a sexually transmitted disease that attacks your immune cells, leaving you defenseless to infections or other illnesses. If left untreated, it can progress to the last stage, AIDS. Which is potentially fatal, depending on whether you choose to treat it or not.
Since HIV is a disease that people know about, breaking the news to your near ones can be tricky. The stigma and discrimination that surrounds HIV or AIDS has a long list to counter. It is, therefore, important to first accept the condition you’re in. Being an HIV positive parent can be a harrowing state to be in, and to make your children understand you need the confidence to explain the situation to them.
Tips that can help HIV positive parents
Here are 10 tips for HIV positive parents that can help them, especially if they are raising children. These basics can make you progress from being underconfident about your HIV status to treating it the right way.
Initiate a conversation about sex
The first step to talking about your HIV status with your kids is to initiate a conversation about sex. In a country like ours, sex is a taboo in itself. Therefore, you need to normalise the emotion created around it. This will also help you become closer to your children, who are in their growing stages and exposed to sex through social media and peers.
You can begin by talking about what sex is, your personal experience with it, and so forth. Even though it seems like a difficult condition to be in, this will only make your children understand your HIV status better. You can also talk to their school counsellor about how to initiate this topic with them.
Educate about healthy sex practices
With the ardent exposure of the virtual world filled with movies and visuals of sex, it only makes sense to inculcate healthy sex habits in your children. You can talk to them about contraceptives, condoms, birth control pills, etc. to educate them about healthy sexual practices. Understand that encouraging such conversation will also help them in the future.
There are various podcasts and videos that talk about preventive measures and healthy sexual practices that can give you points to ponder upon. In addition, you can also discuss how sexually transmitted diseases can affect their health.