D.C. public health commissioner Dr. Andrew McBride said yesterday that a D.C. public school student exposed to the deadly AIDS virus and barred from attending classes with other children will probably be allowed to rejoin classmates soon.
McBride, who refused to give any details about the student, including age or sex, said that unless there are serious problems found in the child's health history and behavior, "We will recommend that the youngster be allowed to attend classes with other students."
Preliminary tests by District health authorities indicate that the student poses no health threat to others under normal conditions, city health officials said yesterday.
The child is a hemophiliac and contracted AIDS-Related Complex, which may develop into AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), through a contaminated blood transfusion, sources said. The AIDS virus causes the ailment.
The child has been receiving separate instruction at an undisclosed school. McBride said he never recommended separating the child from classmates and indicated that school officials made that decision as a precaution until further medical information was obtained.
James Graham, a spokesman for Whitman-Walker Clinic in Northwest, which specializes in the treatment of homosexuals, who are among groups that have a disproportionate rate of AIDS cases, criticized school officials' decision to separate the child from peers.
"The child doesn't have AIDS," he said, "and besides, there is no threat of getting AIDS through the kind of contact you would have with another child in a classroom."
The child's mother reported to school officials that a doctor had tested the student's blood for AIDS and discovered antibodies associated with AIDS-Related Complex.
"We anticipate that we will be able to get the health status of the child and perform our own physical examination next week," McBride said.