HIV Students Barred From Vietnam Schools

HIV-positive children from an orphanage in Vietnam who were finally allowed to attend an integrated school this week were met with outraged protests from parents of other students. Vietnamese law requires equal treatment for those with HIV, who number about 290,000 in the country, but fearful parents have largely kept infected children out of mainstream schools. In this case, after excuses were made about paperwork problems the children were forced to return to their orphanage. Even so, the nation has taken steps in winning the battle against HIV in the past few years, and now 30 percent of those in need receive antiretroviral medication. Fear and misinformation are still pervasive, though. “If I were a normal child, I would be afraid, too, because I wouldn’t understand,” said one student from the orphanage.