Sumatran elementary school expels 3 orphans with HIV
A local activist group is in talks with the government to try and safeguard the children's rights
Parents in a village in North Sumatra, Indonesia, have forced a ban on three HIV+ orphans from attending the village elementary school.
The executive secretary of the Batak Protestant Christian Huria AIDS Committee (HKBP), Berlina Sibagariang, said the three children—a boy and two girls aged between 7 and 11—had the virus passed on to them by their mothers, VOA News reported. She added the children attended the Nainggolan State Primary School for just one day before they were excluded due to pressure from parents and students.
Sibagariang also said the community does not want the children to attend other schools in the area as they fear the threat of infection from the three children.
On October 22, the orphans were expelled from the school and villagers gave them until the 25th to leave the village.
Village elders were slammed for expelling the kids and banishing them from the village. In response, Rapidin Simbolon, one of the leaders, said the children were outsiders, and residents in the village also have rights that need to be protected.
HKBP is believed to be in discussion with government bodies in an attempt to stop the children from being denied their rights to an education.
According to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, HIV is only passed from direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood, semen, breast milk and vaginal secretions. Statistics from UNAIDS show that Indonesia has a substantial number of HIV cases, with 48,000 new infected patients and 38,000 deaths in 2016.