Chinese village expels HIV infected boy

An eight-year-old Chinese boy infected with the HIV virus was forced to leave his home after 200 people including his grandfather signed a petition to expel him from the village.

PTI| Updated: Dec 18, 2014, 14:36 PM IST

Beijing: An eight-year-old Chinese boy infected with the HIV virus was forced to leave his home after 200 people including his grandfather signed a petition to expel him from the village.

Kunkun was found to be HIV-positive in 2011 when he was getting treated for minor injuries, according to his grandfather, Luo.

69-year-old Luo said that the HIV virus was transmitted to the boy from his mother who left the family in October 2006. His father, who worked in Guangzhou, lost contact with the family after Kunkun was found HIV-positive.

"Although the villagers sympathise with him, HIV and AIDS frighten us. We hope he could be looked after by some special organisations," Wang Yishu, Party chief of Shufangya village, was quoted as saying by local media.

More than 200 villagers, including the boy's grandfather, Luo, signed a petition calling for the his expulsion to "protect villagers' health," official media reported today.

Kunkun receives USD 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, media reported.

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.

"Kunkun's blood tests show that he needs professional medical treatment immediately," Qiu said, a staff member in the Chengdu office of AIDS Care China, an NGO that provides medical support to HIV/AIDS carriers.

He said his organisation 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," he said. ?

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, Jing Jun, a sociology professor of Tsinghua University.

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

According to the National Health and Family Planning Commission China has some 4.97 lakh people who had tested positive for HIV/AIDS.

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