UN criticizes move to banish HIV-positive boy

The United Nations in China expressed deep concern on Friday about reports of a child in Sichuan province with HIV being discriminated by the village where he lives, and called for an end to discrimination against those with HIV.

"Stigma and discrimination are our biggest enemies in the fight to end HIV. Stigma and discrimination - in all forms and in any circumstances - are unacceptable, and they must stop. There is no reason to exclude someone with HIV - adult or child - from normal life," a UN statement released by the World Health Organisation's (WHO) China office said.

Kunkun, an 8-year-old boy suffering from AIDS in a village in Xichong county, Sichuan, may have to leave his village after more than 200 villagers signed a petition in early December demanding he be sent away and quarantined for treatment, according to a report by the People's Daily.

Kunkun contracted the virus from his mother, the report said.

After he was diagnosed with the disease in 2011, he was expelled from school and ostracized by villagers, according to the report.

The township authorities have sent a team to educated the local villagers about the disease and to persuade them not to discriminate against the boy.

The report has stirred heated debate on the Internet with tens of thousands of comments posted on Sina Weibo supporting Kunkun.

"The United Nations in China calls on everyone to work to end discrimination against and stigmatization of people living with HIV by promoting correct knowledge on HIV and AIDS; quality HIV confidential counseling and testing, treatment, and family and community support," said the statement released by WHO's China office.