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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

3,046 online petitioners against HIV-AIDS discrimination


Discrimination against a young boy in the United States at the Milton Hershey School, for being Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive is attracting 3,046 online petition.

HIV is a lentivirus; a member of the retrovirus family that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive.

The campaign to petition against the discrimination being supported by Change.org is intended to drum support for people living with AIDS and probably to literally change the minds of the school management over the action.

Change.org is an online advocacy platform that empowers anyone, anywhere to start, join, and win campaigns for social change. Millions of people sign petitions on Change.org each month on thousands of issues, winning campaigns every day to advance change locally and globally.

At Change.org, this campaign petition will be optimized with 5,000 signatories or petitioners.

ITRealms Online investigation gathered that recently Lawrence Stallworth II, a 20-year-old who learnt he was HIV-positive while a senior in high school, by taking a stand against discrimination, stigma and fear. Demand that the Milton Hershey School publicly apologize for discriminating against a 13-year-old HIV-positive student.

Commenting on the development, Mrs. Maria Jackson described this as absurd and so backwards, alleging that at a recent conference, she heard of students in Nigeria being turned away for their HIV-positive status.

“This was the example given of the extreme discrimination of those with HIV in Nigeria. Come on, we are better than this,” she decried.

Also speaking, Mr. Thomas Schumacher said he had personal experience living with someone who was HIV+, stressing that the fear of risk is directly relative to ignorance of scientific fact.

Children, he said, has continued to be without rights in this society, hence he advocated that all children in this society are guaranteed a reasonable voice that will represent them, regardless of health, intelligence or ability.

For Ms Gloria Osborne, because this thinking is archaic, she noted that not only has transmission of HIV + status not been found among siblings, as a pediatric nurse who has worked with AIDS and HIV+ children, she never heard of cross contamination except in the rare case of an accidental needle stick of a caregiver from a contaminated needle.

So, she wondered how a child can transmit HIV-AIDS to anyone.

“This thinking is absurd and the folks who share this fear have been grossly misinformed and are exhibiting their profound ignorance,” she declared.

ITRealms Online gathered that the Milton Hershey School promises to “nurture and educate children in social and financial need to lead fulfilling and productive lives” -- unless you happen to be living with HIV.

The school, however, recently rejected the application of a 13-year-old young boy, publicly citing his HIV-positive status as the reason for the rejection.

In a written statement, ITRealms Online learnt, the school attempted to justify their illegal action, saying “In order to protect our children in this unique environment, we cannot accommodate the needs of students with chronic communicable diseases that pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others.”

According to experts at Change.org, people living with HIV do not pose any kind of health threat to those around them.

“Educators, in particular, should know better -- this is 2011, not 1985! We don’t know what kind of sex education they teach at the Milton Hershey School, but it might be time for the administrators and admissions staff to retake the class,” suggested member of Change.org.

The Change.org team revealed that the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania has since joined this young boy and his family as they fight for his right to education unhindered by ignorance and fear.

“It is particularly disappointing to see such small-minded bigotry promoted by an educational institution,” the team said.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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