There should be multiple discussions about HIV which are not focused solely on the disease itself. Early topics including age-appropriate discussions about anatomy, how to avoid succumbing to peer pressure, and teaching children to appreciate and value their bodies. All of these factors have a hand in increasing the chance that children will avoid or protect themselves against risky behavior. Parents should provide practical information about risk factors for disease transmission and how to minimize the chance of contracting HIV, such as how to properly use condoms.
Discomfort is not uncommon; however, it should not cause the conversation to be rushed or compacted into one discussion versus many. Providing children with too much information at once can confuse, scare and overwhelm them, and not allow them to properly absorb what they have learned. At the beginning of each discussion, ask the child questions about the previous conversation to see if they have retained any of the information. Clarify anything that the child does not understand and correct inaccurate beliefs or misinformation.