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Chinese villagers seek to banish boy with HIV

Local authorities said they are planning an education program to combat the stigma against people with HIV/AIDS.

By Ben Hooper

XICHONG , China, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- A Chinese village's petition to banish an 8-year-old boy diagnosed as HIV-positive has been signed by more than 200 locals, including his own grandfather.

The petition calls for the boy, identified by the pseudonym "Kunkun" to protect his identity, to be kept away from other residents in the town of Xichong while receiving treatment for human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS.

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"Kunkun is diagnosed with AIDS, causing great fear among the villagers and village children. In order to ensure the safety of villagers and children, we demand that authorities quarantine Kunkun for treatment," the petition reads.

The petition specifies the "quarantine" should be "away from the village."

The villagers who signed the petition Dec. 7 include Kunkun's own grandfather, who acts as the boy's guardian.

The grandfather said Kunkun was infected with the disease by his mother before he was born and does not receive any support from his parents. The boy was kicked out of school when his diagnosis was revealed in 2011.

Local authorities responded to the petition with a call for Kunkun's rights to be respected. Officials said they are planning an education initiative to ease the public's fears.

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