Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kids will be kids...

Recently, my daughter spontaneously decided to disclose her HIV status to some friends at school. Though we have completely disclosed to family and close friends, we had not done so at her school. However, she felt that it was important to her that her friends were aware of her status, and broke the news. Here is her account of how it went (with Mom's grammar and spelling editing):

"One day I was playing with my friends at recess, and I tripped and fell on the blacktop. My knee started bleeding really bad, and it kinda hurt. My friends rushed over and tried to help me clean my leg. I told them I was fine, and that they didn't need to help me; all I needed was for them to help me up. One of them still kept trying to reach near me leg, so I told them not to touch my blood or anybody's blood. Then I went to the nurse and got cleaned up and put on a Band-Aid. When I came back, we were in the cafeteria. Everybody kept asking me, "Why were you acting so weird? Why couldn't we touch you on your knee? It was just a little blood, not a big deal." I answered them, "It was a big deal. You're never supposed to touch anyone's blood because you don't know what they have." I could tell they weren't really paying attention and didn't think I was making sense. I was frustrated because it's like kids don't know anything! I felt like I needed to talk to people about HIV and stuff--how you can get it and how you can't. Like just get up on the school stage and talk about it or something, but I couldn't. If I just walked on the stage like that during lunch, I could get in big trouble. And anyway I would be nervous to do it by myself. I can get on stage and do stuff with other people, but by myself I would get nervous and start to sweat a lot and feel like i have to pee! So I decided to just tell my friends instead of everybody.

"Guys," I said, "Don't freak out or tell everyone in the whole school this." I said to myself, calm down and relax. "I have something to tell you. I have HIV."
They looked surprised. "How did you get it?" they asked.
I said, my mom had HIV and didn't know, so I got it too.
"What if you touch someone?"
"If I touch someone, you won't get it. But you shouldn't touch someone's BLOOD, because HIV is in the blood."
"What if you don't know you have it? Could we have it?"
"No, you would know if you did something where you might get it. Like get born with it, or have sex [Mom's note: we've talked about sex, but I never used the actual word and didn't even know she knew it! That's a conversation in itself...] without using protection or share shots. You go to the doctor, and they can tell you if you have it."
"How did your mom get it?"
"IDK," I said. "It doesn't matter how. Even if you have HIV, you can still be a normal person."

This is generally how the first part of the conversation went. In the next post, I'll share how she told me they reacted.

2 comments: said...

Wow - this is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. Looking forward to Part 2.

Jennifer said...

She sounds like she is a very self-assured young lady! She did a great job explaining it to her friends! Looking forward to part 2.