Disclosing your HIV status to your children is a very personal decision that depends on a number of things. It is definitely different than telling adult family or friends. Trust your instincts about when and how to tell your children, and ask for support if you want it. Don’t worry about infecting your kids with HIV. Hugging, kissing and cuddling with them doesn’t put them at risk of getting HIV because HIV transmission doesn’t occur through casual contact.
Children often sense that ‘something is up’ when a parent tests positive for HIV, but you might not want to tell them until they are older. If you think it’s time to talk to your kids, other moms have found the following questions are helpful in deciding. You may not answer “yes” to all of them, but they could help you imagine what it would be like to tell your kids and how things might change afterwards.
You can introduce the information gradually, like explaining how you have a virus that affects your health without saying “HIV”. As they grow older and understand more, give them more information. When they are old enough, tell them about HIV transmission and safer sex.
Because disclosure to kids is a big deal, some women end up talking about it and planning for months in advance. We can help you through the process when you are ready. It’s your call.