Do You Tell Your Kids? What Do You Tell Your Kids? When Do You Tell Your Kids? How Do You Tell Your Kids? HIV-Positive Mothers, Disclosure and Stigma

  • Karalyn McDonald


HIV-positive mothers face the complex and challenging decision of whether to disclose their HIV status to their children. Not only do HIV-positive mothers worry about the potential emotional burden this disclosure may impose on their children, but there is also the risk of unwanted disclosure by children and the possibility of ensuing stigma. When thinking about the disclosure of one’s HIV status to another, stigma is implicit. In-depth interviews were conducted in 2001 with 34 HIV-positive women in Australia who were diagnosed during their childbearing years, 28 of whom were mothers. In this chapter, I explore HIV-positive women’s accounts of disclosure and how women construct both public and private accounts of living with HIV as a way of deriving meaning from their diagnosis as well as a way of managing disclosure and its potential ramifications. I also examine the role of stigma in the decisions made about disclosure to children as well as family, friends and broader social networks.


Public Account Public Speaking Narrative Identity Private Account Potential Ramification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Karalyn would like to sincerely acknowledge the women who generously and courageously shared their accounts. She would also like to thank the National Health and Medical Research Council for her Commonwealth AIDS Related Grant (CARG) Ph.D. Scholarship and Dr Jon Willis, Dr Maggie Kirkman and Professor Doreen Rosenthal for their supervision during the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Infectious DiseasesMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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