Talking to Kids About the Hard Stuff: Disclosing HIV Status in Zambia
August 26, 2010
Susan Strasser presenting at AIDS 2010 in Vienna.
Telling a child that he or she is HIV-positive can be one of the most difficult conversations for a family to have.
Children can receive conflicting messages from family members and care givers, while they are dealing with a host of their own difficult issues – from the death of a parent to illness, stigma, and discrimination.
Often children’s voices go unheard or are misunderstood by adults. These breakdowns in communication can affect a child’s ability to trust, develop positive self‐esteem, and to continue taking the medicines that are crucial to successfully managing HIV.
Susan Strasser, the Foundation’s Acting Country Director in Zambia
, shared her experiences at the AIDS 2010 conference in Vienna
about training counselors and health providers on how to talk to children and families about HIV – and how to help families have this important conversation when the time is right.
Strasser gave her presentation, “Training Health Care Workers to Discuss the Hard Stuff with Children and Families”
at the Children and HIV: Family Support First symposium
, where she discussed successes in using a two-week training class to address this issue.
The course, “Psychosocial Care and Counseling for HIV Positive Children & Adolescents”
(ANECCA/CRS AIDSRelief), has so far trained more than 100 counselors and clinicians in Zambia to help children and families deal with HIV disclosure.
Watch this video taken in Vienna of Strasser explaining her experiences in Zambia, and why above all, it’s important to tell children the truth:
Talking to Kids About the Hard Stuff from EGPAF on Vimeo.