What was your experience telling the children in your life about your HIV status?

Liza's Answer

Disclosing to my children was very difficult for me. I have four children that range from age 18-33. My son who is the oldest knew before the others, with me just disclosing to my youngest this year. I struggled with what’s a good age to talk to them about it hoping that they would understand, but more so that they would still accept me. I spent a long time away from my children because of my addiction. I have spent the last 19 years, since I have been clean, trying to build a relationship with them, so I always believed that putting this on them would not help the matter any. I feel that because I have spent so much time on building a loving, respectful relationship with them that they are able to accept their mother with all her flaws. When my two older daughters found out it was not in the best possible way. Out of fear of them following in my footsteps and in the heat of the moment it just came out. With my youngest one I was able to do it in a better, more loving way. I guess we do learn from the past if we pay attention. I also know that still today, those of us that are HIV positive struggle with the stigma that is attached to it, so I always have this fear that someone will try to hurt my kids once they know that I am positive.

I am so blessed to have such wonderful, amazing, and loving children. They are not perfect, but they are my biggest fans, they have encouraged and supported me since I have disclosed to them and they continue to do so since I have become one of the spokesmodels for this campaign. They worry about me when I have something as simple as a cold, but I think that for the most part they see that I am living a normal life today and they just want to be a part of that. We do our best to spend quality time together, we love on each other, and we support each other the best we can. I think that I can speak for them when I say, “we live in the moment, and don’t worry about the future because it’s not guaranteed.”

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