Chinese boy with HIV assured of care, education

Chinese boy with HIV assured of care, education
Kun Kun hugs a journalist who came to interview the 8-year-old boy, whose village launched a petition to drive him out of the village in Sichuan province for fear of HIV/AIDS.

CHINA - China's health authority has pledged to assure Kun Kun, an 8-year-old boy with HIV/AIDS, the right to medical treatment, a living allowance and a school education.

Last week, 203 of Shufangya village's 900 residents in Sichuan province put their red thumbprints on a petition demanding that Kun Kun (not his real name) leave their village, citing his HIV infection and concerns that it would spread, media reports said. The grandparents also signed the petition.

In 2011, doctors who were treating Kun Kun for an eye injury discovered that he is HIV-positive.

Some villagers are saying that the petition was only a way to draw attention to the boy's situation, the Beijing News said Saturday.

The statement issued by the national health commission on Saturday said the basic rights of children with HIV/AIDS must be ensured.

"Everyday life with an infected person doesn't affect others' health, and the infected person's rights are protected by laws and regulations," said Wu Zunyou, director of the National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention.

Authorities will conduct spot checks across the country to make sure anti-discrimination rules are strictly implemented, the ministry statement said.

In a rare gesture, the United Nations issued a statement on Friday expressing deep concern about the reports over Kun Kun.

In Xichong, the local government was contacting schools in order to find one that would admit Kun Kun.

"It is hoped he can go to school near his home village as soon as possible," said He Chun, chief of the county health bureau.

Liqiao township started giving 600 yuan (S$127) a month to support Kun Kun in 2012. Since last month, it was raised to 1,137 yuan.

Kun Kun's parents are HIV carriers, He said. When his mother was three months pregnant in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, she started living with a young man from Xichong, who adopted the boy.

Kun Kun's mother hasn't seen her son in four years, and his adoptive father hasn't seen him in two years.

The grandparents have given him food and lodging. But when he reached school age, no school was willing to enroll him. A student in a nearby primary school told CCTV that his classmates did not want to play with Kun Kun or be his schoolmates.

Zheng Xueqian, executive director of the China Health Law Society, asked for more publicity in remote areas about how HIV is spread to protect the rights of HIV carriers and AIDS patients.

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