Most of the time, talking about HIV to your teens can be challenging. But with the rampant number of cases we have around the globe, you need to do your part as their parent. We understand that it can get uncomfortable talking such topics to your kids. But if you don’t, they will likely not have an idea on what to do, and how to protect themselves.
If you are going to have The Talk with your teens, here are few tips so it will be easier for everyone.
Know what HIV is all about
It is highly important that you give facts about HIV to your teens. Tell them what it is, how they can get infected, and how they can prevent it. To help you, here are some facts that you can share.
- If HIV is not treated or managed, it can lead to serious and deadly health conditions like AIDS.
- While incurable, people living with HIV can have a normal life.
- HIV can spread through blood, vaginal fluids, breastmilk, and semen.
- You can get it through injecting needles and sharing other drug- equipment, unsafe sex, and mother to child transmission.
- HIV cannot spread through feces, urine, saliva, sweat, and tears.
- It can be prevented by using protection such as condom.
- Not having sex until such time that you and your partner have been tested and both are HIV- negative (provided that you are in a long monogamous relationship).
‘It can happen to them’
The thing with most people, especially teens, is that they think nothing bad can happen to them. They are adventurous and more often than not, willing to take risks. You have to be very honest with them. You need to tell them the fact, the statistics, the numbers of how many people are already infected. In fact, in recent years, people who are diagnosed with HIV are usually from 15 -25 years old. Those who are in their 20s are in their advanced stage already, meaning that most likely they have been infected when they were still teens.
Use books, or other materials to help with your discussion
If you are still having a hard time discussing HIV to your teens, then perhaps other materials can help you. You can check links online, books, and videos that can help them understand HIV as a whole.
Encourage them to share the same information to their friends
When parents teach or talk about HIV to their teens, it should be emphasized that such a topic should be discussed even to their friends, and is not something that they have to be embarrassed about. The more people who are knowledgeable about HIV, the more we can protect the younger generation. Plus, we can break the stigma that HIV infected people should not and cannot live normally.
Even if it can get uncomfortable, try to relax and discuss the topic casually and naturally. This will give an impression to your teens that they can open up topics, even the most sensitive ones. And this gives them the power to make the right choices as they grow up.