HIV Prevention Community
52.4k Members
Avatar universal

Precautions of Children and HIV

I just recently found out that my children's grandmother (their fathers mother) is HIV positive. I by no means want to eliminate her contact with her grandchildren, however I do believe that a basic understanding needs to be established before hand.

Their father and I can not seem to agree on the matter at hands and instead it's causing huge disagreements. Our children are ages 4 and 1. So needless to say, they are active, they fall, they constantly are scrapped and scratched.
My 1 year old is a typical toddler --putting everything in her mouth, etc. They're just normal children.

I have asked that the children not be left alone with her. For one, they are just not old enough to understand and should something happen (she has epilespy as well for example), not be able to take the precautions needed.

I've also asked that they not eat or drink after her. She's famous for 'sharing' her drinks with the kids, but as mentioned, they're typical kids, and whose knows the cuts they have? Not to mention the cutting teeth of my youngest.

I've also chose to dress them in pants and to make sure they have socks and shoes on when at her house. This is in effort to protect their banged and scratched knees, etc. (I didn't ask this, but I just chose to do it...because so much turmoil started just with the first two above mentioned request)

Am I (if possible) being too cautious?
Their father is now accusing me of being heartless and cold. He's accusing me of pouring salt into a wound, so to say...not caring about his mother, but causing her more hurt.

I just feel like I can not be safe enough, nor do I think I've asked for anything above and beyond.
I am actually offended myself, that HE as the children's father is not just as concerned as I am.
I'm also dumbfound that their grandmother wouldn't want to protect her grandchildren as well.

Even if the risk are slight...isn't it still worth it to just be safe?? I don't believe I've been unfair in my request.

Am I wrong?

Are there other things that I need to take precautions with or watch for?

Please advise!!
56 Responses
Avatar universal
You have a valid reason to be worried (because you are a caring mom not because there is a risk involved). From general contact (hugging, eating, drinking, bathing). I am sure the Grandmother in this incident is taking necessary precautions as would you if the shoe was on the other foot. She has had kids on her own and understands the worry that you have. She would not put the grandchildren in danger. HIV/AIDS is not that easy to transmit. If you are this worried over the grandmother. What about school teachers, lunch personnel, P. E. Coaches even some medical professional that are infected and havy daily contact with your kids/ kids food/ health. Basically I am saying there is no risk with the type of contact that you are referring to. If it was that contagious more people would be infected than there are. Though you have the right to worry, don't alienate family over non-risk contact.
Avatar universal
Well in all honesty, I don't trust their grandmother to take all precautions.  I've never trusted her with the well being of my children even before this because of the choices she makes in her own life.  I have given her chances though and she's proven not to be trustworthy.   As for her understanding because she has her own children---she walked out on all of them at young ages and only came back around when they were adults, because she wanted them to take care of her.
I think that's why I'm so uncomfortable, the truth is, I was never comfortable to begin with...

Don't get me wrong, I've been around HIV infected people...I even volunteered at a hospital, and it never worried me.  But now I have children...I look at everything differently.
My brother even has a blood disorder (can not be passed), but regardless, I do remember the stigma he endured when diagnosed (at only 9 yrs old) which has carried through the years.
So, trust me, to be judgmental I am not!!

Thank you for your reply and ease given on my concerns at hand!
Avatar universal
Based off your comments and reply, there is a little more to it than the H.I.V. Have you talked to your husband about your thought of her as just a person. I agree with your choice in that instance. My wife is pregnant with twins and I wouldn't let them be alone with my mother for the same reason. Me and my wife have discussed this bfore kids, but now it is a very real situation (because of the two on the way). Ultimately there are only two people who will ever feel at fault if something tragic happened to their child (mother/Father). Together you and him will make the best decision.
Avatar universal
Not to sound crude but unless your 4 or 1 year old decide to screw around with granny our shoot up heroin with her there just is no risk of infection.  
Avatar universal
At the same time I do understand that the are your children and that you want to take precautions.  If being cautious makes you feel better then keep doing it, but again there is no realistic risk that they will become infected.  
Avatar universal
she also said she doesn't trust her for other reasons not just HIV.
Avatar universal
You're right, sorry.  Someone with epilepsy probably should never be left alone with two small children.  I completely understand the concerns, but with regard to HIV sharing drinks and casual contact has never been shown to transmit the virus.  Does your husband accompany his mother to her doctor's appointments??  Maybe he could speak with her physician about the proper precautions to take.  
Avatar universal
she says in her reply post! The grandmonther isn't trustworthy and hasn't been very responsible in her decision making in her own life for a very long time. You keep posting to people's first post and not reading everyones comments or reactions to the post. I saw you do it on a couple of others. Not nagging! It just makes it easier reading. TC
Avatar universal
This has nothing to do with HIV.
Avatar universal
Okay, I'm going to try to answer all of this.

As for the doctor's visits, no he hasn't went with her, but we just found on 4 days ago (the same day she did) that she was HIV positive.  She also tested positive for Herpes---unsure of any precautions to take there as well, if any.

I've been doing my best to study up on HIV and it's risk.  I am actually a very well educated person (when it comes to books), but I've just never had to encounter a situation like this, I really don't mean to come off as a heart-less monster.

As for her lifestyle...before this, their father and I actually both agreed that we weren't happy with her lifestyle and he actually voiced it more than I did before this.  

However, there has always been some tension concerning her being around the children.  For example, she offered to be the babysitter for $100 a week (nearly half of what we were paying) to keep the kids.
Their father wasn't completely against this because of the money.  However, I absolutely refused!  Cutting cost is not the route when it comes to the children's well-being!!
(And just FYI---she's refuses to work, stating that she's disabled and can not work...yet she wants to keep kids?!?!?  I find that extremely contradicting!)

She has stolen from my children (just to give you insight on her morals), as well as directly ignored my request as their mother, such as, she's the type person that will medicate a child to make them sleep (and has done so), whereas I'm the type person that uses medication as last resorts for any reason.  
Her attitude is always "what I don't know doesn't hurt me."  And she's been caught stating that, which to me, is complete disregard and respect for me AND my children!!

She has also been caught and is known for her drug usage IN the presence of her grandchildren!!
(However, she become infected through sexual intercourse with someone)

Anyway,  although their father and I both agree that she isn't exactly the "role model" that we want for our children (to say it nicely)...and HE even holds his own resents for her lack of mothering with him personally  (walking out on him at age 7)...
He still has that bond, because it is, afterall his mother and I understand that.

But to me, there is no comparasion in hurting her feelings v. my children's well-being when it comes down to that stance, whereas for him, there is.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to "hurt" anyone...but I won't look the other way either if I feel my children's best interest is not being taken!

So needless to say, I just don't trust her as a person, and haven't even before this!
But now, I'm even concerned for them even when I'm RIGHT THERE!

I understand that sharing drinks and such doesn't pose a real risk.  But let's elaborate on that, just for example....

I understand the HIV/AIDS patients are more likely to develop mouth sores in general (that's what studies state and let's add the fact that she has herpes, because she does...)...She also is a smoker (which causes gum problems, right?), and she has no teeth (she does wear dentures 99% of the time) but wouldn't you most likely cut your gums with no teeth even just by eating than with teeth?...My point is, her mouth is going to be a problem area, correct?  For sores, cuts, etc.

Repeat the fact that I have young children (the youngest still teething)...

Am I wrong to request separate cups??  Even if the risk is 0.000000000001%, why not just eliminate it all together??  But when I asked this, everyone took offense.  She did, instead of being understanding, she was extremely offensive, their father (who for the past four days has done nothing but insult me about being heartless because of this...)

I know I'm not the victim here.  (In all honestly I don't believe there is a victim because of her chosen lifestyle, she put herself at risk.)  But am I wrong to think that myself, my children and everyone else needs understanding from her, just as she request it from us?  We're ALL dealing with this!

To add to it, because I obviously can not trust her and because their father obviously isn't going to walk this path BESIDE ME...I chose to have a "talk" with my son (the 4 yr. old) and attempt to take my own precautions.  He's an extremely smart lil' boy.

So, I told him that nanny was sick and he wasn't to drink or eat after her.  He said she has "germie bugs, like I had in my throat" (that's what he calls it...and he'd just had strep)...I told him yes, but nanny has germie bugs in her blood and medicine doesn't make those germie bugs go away like they did his.  (that's the best way I knew how to discuss this on a 4 year old level).
So I continued..."no drinking or eating after nanny"...
(He understands that concept just from colds, or even his sore throat when he wasn't to share with anyone because they didn't want his 'germie bugs', etc.)

So when we first got to his nanny's, as any kid would, he said "are you sick nanny"..."mommy said you're sick"...and he continues with..."you got germie bugs in your blood??"...
He was just being a curious, questioning, yet concerned child...
yet I might as well have been sentenced to death with the look that I got.

Avatar universal
There is no way possible for your kids to get infected by their grandmother without having sex with her.. They can drink or eat after her without a risk. None of this has anything to do with HIV. What it does have to do with, is your dislike for your mother in law. What kind of mother would tell a four year old that their grandmother has HIV? That is tasteless and disgusting. You deserved the look you received.  
Avatar universal
First off, I understand that you're going to look at things differently, because you have been diagnosed with HIV (I've read your story on other boards)...

I understand that you've been the subject of being judged with your dealings with this!  But how dare you judge ME for having concern for my children!!

I came here to get advice, to attempt to educate myself of the issue at hand as NOT to cause undue hardship on anyone...I did NOT come here to be ridiculed for loving my children!!

Understand this, you are correct, I do not agree with the lifestyle of my children's grandmother...and I didn't (before this) trust her to be left alone with my children, because of her PROVEN inability to look out for their best interest!!

However, I did NOT 100% eliminate her from their life and would not do so EVEN NOW...but this is new to me, I'm learning and dealing with it, just as she's learning and dealing with it...the family is learning and dealing with it....

I did NOT tell my 4 year old that his grandmother had HIV (like he would even know what that is)...I did tell him (on a 4 year old level) that his nanny was sick.

At 4 years old, he's already experienced the hospitialization of a grandparent and the death of a greatgrandparent.  Does you suggest I lie to my child???  Because I find that "tasteless and disgusting!!"

This was told to me (about her having HIV) and then I was immediately thrown into this situation, without the chance to discuss it, without the chance to educate myself...I felt at the time that my concerns were going unheard, so I did what I thought was best at the moment and that was to give my child some ability to protect himself.

I find it extremely offensive that I get judged like this!!
I admit that I don't know the answers, which is why I'm seeking them...
and as to not stereotype.
Yet you find it's okay to do so to me???
Have an Answer?
Top HIV Answerers
366749 tn?1544698865
Karachi, Pakistan
370181 tn?1428180348
Arlington, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
These tips can help HIV-positive women live a long, healthy life.
Despite the drop in new infections, black women are still at a high risk for HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
What are your HIV treatment options, and how do you choose the right one? Our panel of experts weighs in.
Learn the truth behind 14 common misconceptions about HIV.
Can HIV be transmitted through this sexual activity? Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia answers this commonly-asked question.
A breakthrough study discovers how to reduce risk of HIV transmission by 95 percent.