July 31, 2012

Questions About Raising A Child Who's HIV+

Hi everyone!

So a little while ago I was honored to have a family who's considering adopting an HIV+ orphan write me. Naturally they had concerns and were looking for more info from someone who was raising an HIV+ child. I was grateful to have the opportunity to share with them my thoughts. Here are their questions and my answers hopefully it will help others as well!

1) How has this affected your child in regards to their relationships with others and your relationships with others? HIV has such a stigma; I want to make sure we are prepared to help our child with the negative opinions that would come his/her way. I worry about the discrimination.

Well... All our friends here in China (foreigners) understand that HIV doesn't transmit through everyday contact, so we haven't had any fallout from that. Also, we're careful about who we tell. You can control who knows and who doesn't, it's your child. So it hasn't affected us or her in that way.

2) How extensive are the meds? Are they working? Is it on a child by child basis?

Lily, our HIV+ daughter takes medicine twice a day (morning and night). It's super easy to give her and it's a normal part of our routine now. And yes the meds are working; in fact, Lily has been healthier than our biological kids since getting on the medication.

3) How often do your kiddos have to be hospitalized for HIV related issues?

NEVER. Our kids have never had to be hospitalized for HIV related reasons. Honestly her being HIV+ rarely crosses my mind since getting informed about how difficult it is to spread and how it can be managed through medication. I mean, look at Magic Johnson, he's been HIV+ for 20 years now and still lives a normal life.

4) How have you changed your daily activities to accommodate the HIV status (if at all)?

At first, before Lily was on the medication we needed to be careful to protect her from other kids who were sick with colds and what not. The ironic thing was that we were more of a danger to her than she was to us. But after a few months and her getting on medication her immune system is unaffected by the virus. Our lives look exactly the same as they would if she didn't live with us.

Honestly, my wife and I didn't know anything about HIV/AIDS before this journey and now that we do we would gladly encourage others to care for these kids. Because of fear and misinformation these kids are treated like lepers... it doesn't have to be that way. We can be the families that care for the least of these. I've been shocked to learn that HIV DOESN'T transmit through everyday activity and that the medication can help them so much. Kids that are HIV can live long lives, marry and have children.

much love,
the petersons


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