Saturday, December 27, 2008

Perak MB on HIV: That’s not what I meant - Star

Perak MB on HIV: That’s not what I meant

IPOH: Dec 27, 2008

The Perak government is not against couples marrying if any of them were HIV-positive, said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

Clarifying his statement last Sunday, Nizar said he had no doubt that any of the reported 71,000 healthy people diagnosed with HIV could lead normal lives.

However, he said he had been referring to singles when he remarked that couples should not marry if at least one of them were HIV-positive.

“It’s good for them (singles who had yet to marry) to first undergo special treatment which is available now, and only then they can marry once confirmed by a specialist.

“If not, it would be unfair for the other spouse if he or she does not know the other partner has HIV,” he told reporters after receiving an Honorary Fellowship Award from the Institution of Engineers Malaysia here on Saturday.

“That is unfair. If you have a son or daughter, you would not like them to marry someone and suddenly find this out,” Nizar added.

“You would not like your daughter to marry with someone who is HIV-positive, would you? Until he or she is being treated and the doctor confirms that they can marry,” he said.

“Once the doctor says they are out of danger and can have a peaceful family, by all means, go ahead,” Nizar said after various non-governmental organisations had criticised his remarks that suggested that those infected with HIV should not marry as it would be unfair to the spouse or their children.

The groups also took issue with his suggestion that there should be a “quarantine” of such patients.

In reply, Nizar said his definition of quarantine was patients with HIV undergoing treatment at special wards with specialised care and diet, such as at hospitals in Western countries like Australia.

“It’s not that we want to isolate them from society,” he added.

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