Residents in Xichong in China’s southwestern Sichuan province have voted to expel from the village an 8-year-old boy infected with the HIV virus, Apple Daily reported Thursday.
The boy was confirmed with HIV in 2011, and has since been suffering discrimination by the villagers. He was refused entry to a school and neighbors have prohibited their children from playing with him, the paper said, noting that the boy has faced social ostracism.
On Dec. 7, the villagers approved a resolution to banish the poor boy from the village, justifying the decision as a bid to protect other people’s health. The boy’s grandfather, his only guardian, was also forced to sign the resolution, according to the report.
However, the grandfather has no plans to get rid of the boy, it said.
Observers noted that the villagers’ decision to expel the boy shows their ignorance about HIV and AIDS, as the virus cannot reproduce outside the human body. Causal contact like shaking hands, sharing drinking fountains, eating together, going to school together or working together cannot transmit HIV.
Many netizens expressed anger at the inaction of the local government and the indifference of villagers. The villagers have no right to expel the boy, several people said in online forums.
Government officials in the county said they had been aware of the boy’s situation since 2011, and that they had been providing him some allowance, people.com.cn reported.
As for the villagers’ latest purported decision, authorities said they are yet to receive official information. If the reports turn out correct, the government will start looking for a care center for the boy and help him get medication and education, they said.
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