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New Guidelines On HIV/AIDS For Schools

Education Minister Nick Smith today released guidelines for schools on the management of risks associated with HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne viruses.

"About 20 New Zealand schools have had students who were HIV positive in the past few years. It is important that children with a blood-borne virus are able to live as normal lives as possible including exercising their right to an education. As far as their health permits, students should be able to join in all school activities. These new guidelines for schools are about ensuring the safety of all students and teachers."

The guidelines for schools on HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne viruses were developed by the Ministry of Education in consultation with the Ministry of Health, the New Zealand AIDS Foundation, the New Zealand School Trustees Association, the Office of the Commissioner for Children, the Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission.

"The guidelines provide a balance between the rights of students living with HIV/AIDS and the responsibility of boards of trustees for providing a safe school environment. The guidelines state that parents should tell the principal about any infections their children may have when they are enrolling their children at school, but provide that such information should only be shared with those that need to know. This excludes the general school community and other parents. The guidelines also provide information about good practice in managing blood-borne viruses in schools."

"Managing students with HIV/AIDS is a very difficult challenge for school boards and principals. To date I have been impressed by how sensitively schools have managed these issues. The guidelines should help schools deal with the competing demands of respecting the privacy and education rights of an individual child with the obligation to provide a safe school environment for other pupils."

ENDS

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