Wednesday, April 05, 2006

HIV+ Discrimination Against Kids?

Here's a tough question.

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?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

none in bolehland unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

I believe these kids have to attend dedicated school.

Even if the schools allow him to attend the normal schools, people in there will know he has Aids and will discriminate against him, will not play with him, and will tease him.

Can the government do something?

What the hell is the Malaysian AIDS Foundation doing? Can't they help?

Scribe said...

you can't really cajole the AIDS Foundation into action when there are simply not enough people willing to listen. I believe that the AIDS Foundation, even if it is a relatively lower profile organisation, is doing as best as they can considering the circumstances. We live in a country that still publicly shuns premarital relations, and is generally reluctant to discuss the issues of safe sex and the sexual responsibilities, let alone allowing a more open acceptance of fatal illness like AIDS or HIV. You can elucidate all you want about acceptance of a faultless HIV carrier, whether everyone will listen to you is another issue. If discrimination was such an easy act to police, then we wouldn't have that many problems floating around would we?
And this is the problem that we have: the lack of disseminated information about social policy. While Tony's question in fact an interesting question, that fact there will be many Malaysians out there who do not know what kind of social aid we have in place is a disturbing sign that we don't know how to help other members of our own society (even if the intentions are there)

Anonymous said...

hmm...

lets see Marina Mahathir talk about this discrimination!!

btw.. there was an article today about UPM being able to continue its aeronautical engineering programme.

GOOD JOB TOK PA

Anonymous said...

Do they actually have a wind tunnel in that University to do aero engineering?

Pur.Boy

Tony P said...

Hey Anon 10:15:35 AM

Isn't putting them in a special school "for their own good", the same as the idea promoted by some bigot earlier that all HIV/AIDS patients should be isolated on a remote island?

If society discriminates, should we "abet" the discrimination? Or should we educate them about the wrongs of discrimination?

Where does the line stop? Should we put all handicaps in special schools or area so that they won't be discriminated against?

Tony P

scribe said...

Nice one Mr. P! Yes and while we're at at, how about having a special school for homosexuals, drepression & OCD suffers, and other 'undesireable minorities'. And migrants! Don't forget them migrants!

Anonymous said...

you're talking nonsense scribe

scribe said...

Anon,
that was merely slapstick sarcasm. If it offended your sensibilites, whoops! But then again you'll be surprised at how some people would find that rhetoric logical...

SoNaR said...

Hmm...wonder what's the life expectancy of a HIV+ child in Malaysia?

Will they live long enough or healthy enough to enter school?