"It's stuff we haven't seen for 25, 30 years since the beginning ofthe Aids epidemic. In fact, something we have never really seen inNew Zealand," he said. Not a risk The boy was infected at birth and is on advanced medication, whichmeans he is not considered a risk. Robinson said the boy's brothers, who are at primary school, werealso being discriminated against, even though they don't have thevirus. About 20 parents went to the school, demanding the brothers beremoved, he said. |
"The principal had to send them home for fear of their safety, notbecause he agreed with the parents." The Ministry of Education plans to meet with the centre, parentsand health officials on Monday to try to resolve the situation. ONE News spoke to the head of the Maori Trust that runs theMokopuna Centre. She says this has become an unwarranted attack on them, and thatthe child was never expelled or excluded. She said the boy canreturn provided the family work through a care plan. The Human Rights Commission says the child's caregivers could makea complaint on the grounds of disability.
Child 'welcome' Northland Kindergarten Association general manager Richard Storeysaid the child would be welcomed at any Northland kindergarten. "We have policies and procedures in place, our staff are totally aufait with children with HIV - it's not an issue." Storey said in the past couple of years one HIV positive child wastaught by a Northland kindergarten without any problems. All the Northland Kindergarten Association's staff are fullyqualified, registered early childhood professionals, and know thatHIV cannot be passed on to other children while playing, he said. A nearby playgroup now wants the four-year-old to join theminstead.
"We've got parents and tamariki around and we're willing to help.We've always got room for more," said Sharla Cochrane, head teacherat 2meke playgroup. Boy cries every day Robinson said he has been dealing with the centre for a couple ofweeks, working to help them understand that the boy posed no riskto other children. He met with the centre on Friday with the boy's paediatrician, butsaid it was a "really dysfunctional meeting". "They didn't want to listen to any of the facts.
They completelydismissed the doctor like he had nothing to add to theconversation," Robinson said. "They have been wilfully ignorant to the facts and then allowedhysteria to occur." A Ministry of Education spokesman said individual early educationcentres were legally responsible for the health and safety ofchildren in their care, but needed to comply with human rightslaws. Robinson hoped the pressure would make the centre listen to thefacts and see that the child posed no risk to other children. "I really hope this poor little boy can go play with his friends." He believed there were about 200 children and about 2000 peopleoverall with HIV in New Zealand. No health risk Robinson said effective medications which have been available sincethe mid-1990s lower the amount of HIV in a person's body but do notcure it.
They do, however, reduce the level of HIV in the boy's blood to alevel where it is undetectable when tested and have also greatlyreduced the possibility of people being able to transmit HIV toothers - even when involving blood. The Director of Child Health at Auckland District Health Board, DrRichard Aickin, said HIV could not be transmitted through socialcontact, sharing utensils, kissing, hugging or sharing baths. "If another child has an open wound or cuts themselvessimultaneously with another and is exposed to infected blood, thenany blood from the infected child would have to firstly, containviral DNA. This is unlikely in a child with an undetectable viralload," he said.
"Secondly, the virus would have to be able to survive the journeyfrom the infected child to the non-infected child and thirdly,somehow manage to enter the non-infected child's blood stream. "There has been no documented case of transmission of HIV from onechild to another in a day care or school setting. This, we believe,supports our opinion that the transmission risk is miniscule,"Aickin said. Email this article Print this article Text size + - more..
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