Caring for a child with HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) can be a scary diagnosis for adults, but it can be just as scary if you find out that your child has HIV. Luckily, for most children there is a slow progression of the disease and they are likely to reach adulthood before the disease progresses to AIDS (Acquired Immune Defiency Syndrome) providing medical advice is followed. 

Here are some tips. 

Make the medication easier

Children with HIV take a lot of medications to keep the level of HIV in their bodies to the lowest possible level. These drugs have to be taken at different times during the day and may have other criteria such as taking before, with or after food. Work out the best way to manage these drugs which can include sorting into daily and weekly pill containers and automating reminders through systems such as a smartphone app or a time chart. As the child gets older, this gives them some oversight into their medication and they can take some control and feel ownership of their medication. This can be a very important developmental step and allow them some more independence. 

Gather educational resources

The social load of HIV can also be hard on a child as they need to take particular care to avoid ill friends and sources of bacteria. It can be useful to help the teachers and other students understand the issue by gathering some age-appropriate resources such as story books to help answer any questions and explain HIV to their peers. This can help them integrate socially and make more friends. 

Provide them with social support

It can be useful to find some support groups to provide both your child and you with some connections to other people in your circumstances. This can help their emotional health and can often be a great support for your mental heath as a parent. They can often give you some good tips on the practical aspects of parenting a child with HIV such as how to get your child to consume medicine that tastes bad or how to manage medication if they go on a sleepover to a grandparents' house. Finding those around you in a similar situation can also mean helping each other cope with challenges as they arise.

If you have a child with HIV, getting the right medical support and HIV care is vital in getting them to live a long and healthy life.