Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today said he was ready to share a food plate with an HIV-positive child, to dispel the misconception that the dreaded disease is transmitted by a mere touch. A threat by some parents to withdraw their wards from a school in south Goa after it admitted children who are suspected to be HIV-positive has kicked up a controversy.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar

The Chief Minister was responding to a calling attention motion in the Assembly today on the incident. "I will eat from a common plate with an HIV-positive child to prove my belief that the disease is not transmittable (by casual contact)," Parrikar said, adding, "If HIV were spread by physical contact then every human being would test positive.

It does not spread like a common cold." The school in question was violating the provisions of Right to Information Act by leaking the information about the students who were suspected to be HIV-positive, he stated. The school was "knowingly or unknowingly" involved in leaking information about the students' health, he said.

Further, the school also violated the Right to Education Act by allowing these students to stay at their orphanage and study, while not allowing them to come to the class room like other kids, Parrikar said. The government would probe the conduct of school authorities, he assured the house.