KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Care for children with HIV/AIDS

Unlike the olden days, acquiring HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence. No matter how you acquire the virus, you can still live a long and healthy life. As a child, if you are living with the infection, you have the right to special provisions of care according to Rwandan law.

Unlike the olden days, acquiring HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence. No matter how you acquire the virus, you can still live a long and healthy life. As a child, if you are living with the infection, you have the right to special provisions of care according to Rwandan law.

Article 55 of law n°54/2011 of 14/12/2011 relating to the rights and the protection of the child children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS states: “Children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS shall benefit from a special protection and assistance of the Government, depending on its means.”

Article 55 of law no 54/2011 of 14/12/2011 further statuses that an Order of the Minister in charge of health shall determine programs and strategies to ensure protection and assistance to those children.

Indeed, in 2013, ministerial order n° 20/32 of 05/12/2013 determining programs and strategies to ensure protection and assistance to children infected or affected by HIV/AIDS was put in place.

Article four of the abovementioned order talks about the responsibilities of the school. It says, “Any school where a child who is infected with HIV/AIDS attends is responsible for putting in place specific places where the child can safely take antiretroviral drugs in confidentiality.”

This means that if you living with HIV, you are not be subjected to humiliation, embarrassment or abuse. Your HIV status is not to be announced publicly as you take your medicine just so that they can make an example of you.

Further still, according to Paragraph two, article four of order no. 54/2011 of 14/12/2011, the school where a child infected or affected by HIV/AIDS studies shall have the responsibility of designating a person in charge of bio- psychosocial monitoring of the child.

By definition, Bio- psychosocial monitoring is looking after the child, finding out if he/she respects medical appointments, ensuring his/her control of biological and immunological state and giving the child all needed assistance.

It is also stated that the person in charge of bio-psychosocial monitoring of the child shall be trained in HIV/AIDS counseling and maintain a link with a healthcare facility.

The responsibilities of a parent or guardian of a child living with HIV/AIDS are outlined in article five of the aforementioned ministerial order.

They include; encouraging the child to be regularly diagnosed of HIV/AIDS, assisting the child to access the financial, medical and psychosocial support and engaging the child in discussions related to reproductive health.

 

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