Rights of HIV/AIDS afflicted children and need of enlightenment
CJ | 21 Aug 2010

The policy makers need to come ahead with elaborate programmes hitting the major issue of awareness amongst various organisational set up of the country. Rural areas need to be targeted efficiently to spread awareness about AIDS.

THE PROBLEM of ostracism of HIV positive people is as major a problem as the disease itself. When HIV hit India the impact was not so sudden and nothing was done to bring about awareness in a manner, where it could make a difference. So when it took the shape of a virtual pandemic, information about the disease spread in such distorted fashion that truth was betaken by falsehood.

Little does a HIV affected child know or can imagine as to what the world may have in store for him as he takes his first step to school. And in case the child suddenly discovers that no one wants him or to teach him, what will he think.
As soon as people come to know that the kid called so and so happened to have tested HIV positive, all hell breaks loose. This is a crime against a child’s innocence making not only his education but also life  almost impossible and this goes on to tell how merciless this world of ours can be in case of HIV positive patients despite our tall claims of being a compassionate civil society.

This pathetic behaviour towards these children creates havoc and raises a question- should there be separate schools for children living with HIV?

Children living with HIV need not be educated in special schools as their right to equality protects them from such discrimination. The various judgments on this issue have shown that children living with HIV need not be put in separate schools or even separated from the other school going children. Protection of the right of these children would be of utmost importance in these cases.

The policy makers need to come with elaborate programmes hitting the major issue of
awareness amongst various organisational set up of the country. Rural areas need to be targeted efficiently so that teachers, parents, children are made aware about how HIV doesn’t affect them if they stay around a person tested positive. What needs to be targeted specifically is the young section of the student, children in their formative years need to learn in a holistic manner about how harmless it is to be around a child afflicted with the virus and also let them know on further issues relating to the disease.

Sex education programme go a long way in incorporating the necessary information about such disease too. If sex education programmes are made a part of the children’s daily curriculum, they can be taught on one hand about how a HIV affected individual can give them the virus, and also about how such a child could be helped by not being ostracised. The next generation of office holders comes from schools where they have to be made sensitive individuals and not be fed on discriminatory ideas, distorted facts and unnecessary and exaggerated fears.

The civil society group need to come out more steadfastly to tackle the issue of bringing about awareness and sensitisation, rather than sitting contended with short term solutions like getting the child further education.

So there is a special need, a special responsibility, to honour the rights and needs of these children. Moreover, the fact that these human rights are so much under threat presents unique challenges to effective policies for preventing the further spread of HIV.