We have read many stories about unfaithful husbands infecting their unsuspecting and pitiful wives with the HIV virus. And on occasions, we have read that this infection is passed on from the unknowing wife to the unborn child. Our hearts are often with the poor innocent child who became infected with the virus through absolutely no fault of his or her own.
But we seldom think about what actually happens when the child grows up. Can he or she go to school like any other kids?
This is exactly what happened to housewife Jamaliah Sulaiman, 39, whose six-year-old son has been barred from studying in a government-aided pre-school because he is HIV+. Her plight was reported in the New Straits Times last week.
"Is my son being penalised because I was truthful enough to declare to the authorities that he is HIV-positive?" She said she informed the school with good intentions but it turned out that the school was stigmatising those with HIV/AIDS.Poor Jamaliah did not know that her husband was even HIV+ until he died. Instead of living in denial and seclusion, brave Jamaliah is now a HIV activist, helping other women live a normal life in society.
Her son should be given every opportunity to lead a normal life like every other kid. While there should be additional precautions, the child should never be ostracised from society. Instead, his friends should be taught about understanding, compassion and kindness to help sufferers to experience joy and friendship.
The action of the school authorities reeks of ignorance with regards to HIV, probably fuelled by misinformation and unfair discrimination. Is there an actual or specific government policy to help unfortunate kids with HIV?