Talking to your kids about HIV/AIDS ….

This morning taking the kids to school, I told Connor that today was the 1 December which made it World AIDS Day.

Connor asked what AIDS was and I tried to explain it as a virus that one has, and when you look at someone you do not know they have the virus, so anyone can have it.

It is a bit like a dog.  A dog with a wagging tail can be a vicious or a friendly dog, you just don’t know, so the best thing to do is to treat all dogs as if they have the propensity to be vicious.  So treat every dog with the respect and care you would in case it might be a vicious dog.

We use this analogy for a lot of things in my house.  Sort of works (and teaches the lesson of being aware around dogs.)

Connor asked how you got AIDS.

I then had to embark on a discussion that involved blood, sex, and pregnant women.  (my kids are 9 and 6….)

I also had to sort of go off on a tangent to explain that if a man and a woman are married or in a relationship and the man is having sex with other women, and his wife does not know, she might get the HIV virus from him and then she is pregnant + HIV positive, which means she could pass it on to her child.

Often this comes as a bit of a shock when a pregnant woman is diagnosed.

A very sobering conversation.

I tried to bring it back to explain that if there was someone at school who was HIV positive there was really very little chance (miniscule) of him contracting it from them.  Unless they were sharing needles/having sex or both had open wounds, that were bleeding and the wounds came in to contact with each other (and even that is highly improbable.)

Connor asked if he could have the virus.

I suggested it was highly unlikely as I did not have the virus when I was pregnant with him, and that he has hardly engaged in high risk behaviour.  I reiterated he would need to be having sex with someone, or sharing blood, or needles or the like.

But that being said, I did realise that I have not educated my children about HIV/AIDS.  I sort of dropped the ball on that one.  Do I go out and do an HIV test with them, as part of an education process?

At what point do you make it “a standard yearly event to have a HIV/AIDS” test as part of normal behaviour?  Tricky one.

But I do need to bring this subject into conversation at home.  I want them to know the facts and be clear on it, rather than listen to the jibber jabber on the play ground.

 

Which reminds me, I need to go and give blood again.