Village votes to expel HIV-positive child

By Hu Qingyun Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-17 23:53:01

Expert: needs care ‘immediately’

An 8-year-old boy was allegedly facing expulsion from a village in Southwest China's Sichuan Province for being HIV-positive, news portal reported on Wednesday.

More than 200 villagers, including the boy's grandfather, in Shufangya village, Liqiao township, signed an agreement on December 7 agreeing to expel the boy in an effort to "protect villagers' health."

Kunkun (pseudonym), the boy, was found to be HIV-positive in 2011 when he received treatment for minor injuries, according to his grandfather, surnamed Luo.

Luo, 69, said that the HIV virus was transmitted to the boy from his mother.

The boy's mother left the family in October 2006 and his father, who worked in Guangzhou, lost contact with the family after Kunkun was found HIV- positive.

Kunkun receives 600 yuan ($97) from the local government every month as a subsidy and currently lives with his grandparents.   

Due to villagers' fear of the disease, Kunkun has been rejected by local schools, and villagers avoid physical contact with him, news portal reported.

"Although the villagers sympathize with him, HIV and AIDS frighten us. We hope he could be looked after by some special organizations," Wang Yishu, Party chief of Shufangya village, told

Officials from the Liqiao township government said that, legally speaking, villagers could not vote to expel the boy, and that he should enjoy the same rights as other people. Officials plan to visit the village and speak with the villagers.

Qiu Lei, a staff member in the Chengdu office of AIDS Care China, an NGO that provides medical support to HIV/AIDS carriers, arrived in Liqiao township on Wednesday to visit the boy.

"Kunkun's [blood tests] show that he needs professional medical treatment immediately," said Qiu.

Qiu said that his organization will care for the boy temporarily if his guardians agree. Kunkun's grandparents expressed willingness to accept the help but the local government is still cautious about such an arrangement. "Concerning his future, we still hope local residents can accept him," said Qiu.

The case is a sign that the general public still lacks knowledge about HIV/AIDS transmission, and that there are still deficiencies in government oversight, said Jing Jun, a sociology professor of Tsinghua University.

"The need for governmental institutes for infected children is urgent," Jing told the Global Times.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission said by the end of October, some 497,000 people in China had tested positive for HIV/AIDS.

Discrimination against HIV/AIDS carriers in education and employment is illegal under Chinese law.

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