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School's discrimination illegal

Updated: 2015-09-03 08:06
(China Daily)

School's discrimination illegal

A health worker puts HIV test information to a computer at a hospital in Nantong, East China's Jiangsu province on Nov 29, 2012. [Photo/IC]

That a senior high school in Hebei province recently refused to enroll a teenage girl because she had tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus, even though local authorities claimed to have arranged a suitable school for her, underscores the urgent need to eliminate the ingrained prejudice against those carrying the virus.

The girl was found to be HIV-positive when she was 2 years old, after her mother died of AIDS, having contracted the virus from a blood transfusion using unscreened blood at a local hospital.

The school cited her failure to provide "personal information" as an excuse for not admitting the girl, but insiders said the real reason was their concern that she might infect others.

This is a concern originating from ignorance. Studies have proved that the virus is usually transmitted through mother-to-fetus and sexual channels and there is no possibility for its transmission to others just because they live, study or work together.

Regrettably, due to the fear and falsehoods that surround the disease, prejudice still exists against those known to be infected with the virus, leading to discrimination in employment, education, medical treatment and daily life.

According to a State Council regulation put into effect in March 2006, employers and individuals should not discriminate against HIV carriers or AIDS patients and their relatives, and their rights to marriage, employment, medical care and school enrollment should be guaranteed.

What happened in Hebei once again indicates that HIV is a social as well as a medical issue.

The above is an abridgement of a China Youth Daily article published on Tuesday.

(China Daily 09/03/2015 page8)

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