Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed a bill this week that would have ended a requirement that state health officials notify the school nurse and district superintendent when a student tests positive for HIV.
Supporters of the bill say the notification requirement leads some students to avoid getting tested. Sanford argues that the state should require more notification, not less, lumping HIV in with other “highly contagious diseases.”
“If my son or daughter was sitting in class or was on the sporting field with a fellow student who happened to have Hepatitis C, as a parent I would want to know,” Sanford wrote.
1) HIV is not a “highly contagious” disease. The type of contact necessary to transmit the virus is remote (almost nonexistent) in a school setting. It’s alarmist and ignorant to claim anything different. If anything, an HIV positive student should be worried about the viruses you’re kids are bringing to school.
2) Even under the existing law, as a parent of another kid in the classroom, you’re not obliged to know anything about the health status of another student. But, apparently the governor is expecting the school to send letters home saying, “You’re son’s classmate, Johnny, has that gay cancer.”
It’s evident that Sanford did not consult state health officials or anyone with HIV/AIDS when he made this decision and certainly not before he wrote his veto letter, which does more to further ignorance than understanding.