Supporting my child taking their medication
The first thing you can do to encourage your child to take their medication, if you also have HIV, is to lead by example and take yours in an open way with your child. We know that when parents have a problem taking medication often their child will too. When your child is small, make taking medication part of their routine – you shower, get dressed, brush your teeth, take your medication. Make it normal.
As your child gets older, it is important not to ‘nag’ and to support them in taking responsibility for their medication (whilst keeping an eye on it in the background). This can be a difficult time and you may sometimes feel powerless.
Doctors and nurses have told us that most children that take their medicine well when they are young, may have a short time in adolescence when they are not good at taking it, but then work through this and take it again as young adults.
Tips on how to support your child
Your child’s nurse will have leaflets that you can look at with your child and talk about the HIV treatment. There is a short informative film here and more information on the secure website for HIV positive children.
One of the most important things to remember about your child living with HIV is they will need to know it is not just them, so if possible, get your child to meet other HIV positive children. This can happen at HIV support groups, by attending a support camp or through meeting other children at their clinic, and they have the chance to see other children also taking medication.
It is important to be aware of side effects and make sure your child is aware of these too, so they know that if they feel a certain way, it may be a side effect from the medicine. This should then be discussed with the health team.