"Am I sick like mummy?"
"Will I die too?"
These heartbreaking questions were asked by four-year-old John to his foster parents following the death of his biological mother from an AIDS-related illness, The Canberra Times reported on this day in 1993.
His biological mother contracted the virus through intravenous drug use.
Meanwhile John was born with the virus, and his body was quickly deteriorating.
Doctors predicted John would not see another birthday or Christmas and had only a few months of relatively good health left.
His foster parents, who adored the "fun-loving, chirpy, strong-willed and extraordinarily-bright little boy", were forced to lie to keep up his spirits. HIV today is a treatable chronic illness. but in the 1980s and 1990s it was a death sentence that carried a heavy social stigma. Children with the virus such as John were not immune to the prejudice.
"There was no queue to take John," his new mum and dad told The Canberra Times.
"Let's just put it that way.
"He is treated like a modern-day leper," his foster mum said.
"The ones who get it through blood transfusions are seen as victims, but it is almost as if they have it in their minds he deserves it."
John was able to attend a day-care centre, but his family had to keep his illness a secret.
"Because, as the head of the day-care centre said 'people talk'," the article read.
With not much time left for John the AIDS Action Council, today known as Meridian, was organising a trip Disneyland for the youngster.
"He's such a beautiful kid," AIDS Action Council executive officer Kerin O'Brien said.
"It's really great to see a community pulling together to make sure he gets there ... that he gets what he really deserves."