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Villagers want HIV boy, 8, removed for safety

Shanghai Daily, December 18, 2014 Adjust font size:

More than 200 villagers are demanding that an 8-year-old boy, who is an HIV carrier, be taken away by authorities and given medical treatment in isolation, according to a report on the People's Daily website yesterday.

It didn't name the village, or how many residents it had.

The boy, nicknamed Kunkun, was found to have the virus when he was in hospital in 2011 in Xichong County in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

"Doctors told me Kunkun was born infected with HIV," said 69-year-old Luo Sheng, the father of Kunkun's stepfather.

"No one knows who the Kunkun's biological father is except his mother," he said.

Luo said his elder son met Kunkun's mother when she was three months pregnant. He took her home and treated her as his wife, Luo said.

However, shortly after the boy's birth, he left home. The mother later also left. Where they are and whether they are together, is not known, the website said.

Luo's elder son severed all ties, including financial, with the family after learning of the boy's infection and Luo's younger son didn't go home last year for fear of being infected.

Kunkun doesn't know about his infection. But he can feel he is being shunned. Everybody keeps their distance, including the children he used to play with. No school is willing to accept him, the website said.

"He is a time bomb," said villager He Jialing. "What if kids are touched or bitten when playing with him?"

Earlier this month, village officials held a meeting, asking villagers whether the boy should stay.

A letter which read: "We hope authorities take Kunkun from our village to ensure the health of all of other villagers" was signed by 203 villagers including Luo, the website said.

"We all empathize with him. He is innocent and young. But his infection of HIV really scares us," said Wang Yishu, the village's Party chief.

However, doctors point out that HIV is not spread through normal daily contact. There have been no cases where the virus has been transmitted by casual contact with AIDS patients in the home, workplace, or health care setting.

Although the government has implemented polices and legislation aimed at stopping HIV/AIDS discrimination, misconceptions about the disease has led to children being barred from school and parents abandoning children.

In 2012, President Xi Jinping visited a group of people living with HIV in Beijing, urging an end to discrimination and "to light up their lives with love."

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