19 May 2012

HIV boy poses no risk to classmates - health official

9:50 pm on 19 May 2012

An assessment of a four-year-old Whangarei boy with HIV has found his attendance at a local pre-school poses no risk to other children.

The boy was sent home from the Mokopuna o Whau Valley pre-school last week after staff learned of his diagnosis.

Northland's medical officer of health, Jonathan Jarman, says the boy was assessed at the request of the centre, which was concerned about the possible spread of the disease during his 12-week attendance.

Dr Jarman says medical staff visited the centre, listened to staff concerns, looked at their policies, got expert advice and did a public-health risk assessment.

He says no risk was found.

Dr Jarman says there has never been a documented case of HIV transmission in a pre-school anywhere in the world.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Education says a Whangarei school has drawn up a care plan for the boy.

The child will start school soon - at Whau Valley Primary - and the principal there says he wants no repeats of the controversy at the Mokopuna centre.

At one point the pre-school was accused of discrimination by the AIDS Foundation.

The ministry says a meeting between the primary school and family has already agreed on a care plan to ensure the boy's smooth transition as a new entrant.