A child living with HIV/Aids can lead a healthy life when parents understand the disease well.
Being a parent is not easy. And, with the added pressure of living in a society where the fear of HIV/Aids is common, it is your responsibility to empower your child with the facts needed to live as normal a life as possible. “Talking about HIV can be a tough topic for parents. Yet it is an important discussion – whether your child is positive or negative. All children need to understand what it means to live with HIV,” says Thandeka Sikakane, HIV testing services project manager for the Society for Family Health in Johannesburg.
It is unfortunate that children learn about HIV from different mediums such as TV, radio, newspapers, the Internet as well as their friends. And, sometimes the information is not accurate. So, speaking to them is an opportunity to correct any myths or wrong information they may have picked up, explains Thandeka. Depending on your child's age, explain the basic facts first. Include points such as what HIV and Aids are, the difference between them, how they are and not transmitted, and ways to prevent them. “When talking to your child, provide reading material they can read on their own. Also, put aside time to answer their questions,” she advises.
Bear in mind that this is not a one-time conversation as children obtain new information throughout their childhood. They also need to know that they can ask questions at any time. This openness can strengthen your bond, and ensure that the correct information is shared to help them make healthy choices.
HELPING YOUR CHILD
It is all very well making healthy choices. But, how do you help your child to live a healthy and positive life, especially with isolation being one of the challenges they face?
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