True compassion transcends stigma

Finally, South Africa appears set to strike a decisive blow against the HIV-Aids pandemic that is killing so many of its people and frustrating its developmental goals.

Finally, South Africa appears set to strike a decisive blow against the HIV-Aids pandemic that is killing so many of its people and frustrating its developmental goals.

The five-year-plan to help curb the Aids scourge, unveiled by the government last week, has the hallmark of a successful plan and needs to be fully supported by business, faith organisations, labour and other components of civil society to succeed.

So far the stigma attached to HIV-Aids has been a serious impediment in the fight gainst the deadly disease, forcing infected people to hide and live in shame.

Ignorance and bigotry are still major hurdles more than 20 years after the world became aware of the pandemic.

The case of the two-year-old boy who has been rejected by the Westbury Community Creche because his mother dared reveal he is HIV-positive is a case in point.

It shows just how backward even some supposedly educated people still are in their response to the disease.

The boy was abandoned by his own mother. He was fortunate enough to overcome this huge challenge in his young life when another woman adopted him.

Now they are both being forced to deal with the cruelty of rejection by people professing to be Christians.

Deadly earnest, Pastor Gert Jaarts, head of the Westbury Community Church that runs the creche, even justifies the decision to reject the boy.

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