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Anna - it's okay to be scared... the important thing is to get support

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I was 12 years old when my father was diagnosed with pneumonia and mother tested HIV positive. I was 18 years old when my father died from AIDS-related illnesses.

I’m the first to admit that growing up with HIV positive parents was agonising, it was an isolating and emotional nightmare. They were both very sick in my teens. I hated my father for not being honest about his sexuality in the first place. I refused to attend his funeral. He had been dead to me long before his corporeal self left us.

I’m in my mid-30s now. My mother is still alive, thanks to her staying on her antiretroviral medication regime. And I’ve since found forgiveness for my late father.

I found that once I was honest with people about my situation that not everyone was as ignorant as I assumed they would be. I hope any other kids who are hiding their parents’ stories like I did don’t isolate themselves like I did. I hope they know it’s okay to tell their story and say how they feel because they are just as affected by this disease as their family members are. And it’s okay to be upset, okay to be angry, okay to be hurt, okay to be scared... the important thing is to get support – that way you’ll realise you can cope and that you’re not alone.

Anna had a very difficult time dealing with the emotional and practical complications of having HIV positive parents but didn’t feel she could open up to get the support she needed until later in life. However you are affected by HIV it really helps to be able to talk to people and share your worries. That could be with trusted friends, family members, or local support groups in your area.

*These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals who use our site. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes. Some names have been changed to protect identities.        

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Photo credit: ©iStock/Dean Mitchell. 

Last updated: 15 April 2020