Fathers, Let's Talk About Love, Respect and HIV

06/21/2015 01:44 pm ET | Updated Jun 21, 2016

Fathers are an important part of every child's life from birth till adulthood. Fathers are the first role models most children know, and one of the key jobs fathers have is to provide and protect their families, especially when it comes to keeping their families healthy. As fathers, it is our duty to explain even the most difficult issues to our children. This Father's Day, let's focus on HIV.

HIV is still with us, and we cannot pretend otherwise. Around the world, 35 million people are living with the virus. More than 3 million are children under 15 years old. Knowing about HIV -- how it is transmitted, how it affects the health of our loved ones and how it can be treated -- is the first step to preventing new infections, and encouraging testing and treatment.

Stigma and lack of knowledge around HIV still put people at risk, but as fathers, we can break the cycle by setting an example of love and respect for all regardless of their situation, and by teaching our children to do the same.

Our children access information from many places, and this is something we cannot always control. However, talking to our children regularly about HIV is an opportunity to provide them with correct information away from the barrage of unfiltered and unreliable information they may be fed with. It also helps to strengthen our relationship with them as it creates an environment that allows them to freely ask their fathers about any topic under the sun.

This Father's Day, be a role model, be a Father to your children, and they will not only love and respect you, but they will also learn by the example you set.

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