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New York Times Examines HIV Stigma In Vietnam

The New York Times examines the story of Vietnamese orphans from the Mai Hoa AIDS Center who were turned away from a local primary school because they are HIV-positive. Though the principal at the primary school agreed to accept the children, the parents of the other students at the school refused to allow their children in classes with the orphans, leading the principal to turn the students away. Sister Bao, who runs the orphanage where the students live, “and officials of the district and the school, the An Nhon Dong Elementary School, have met with the parents since then, but they remain adamant,” the newspaper writes.

The views of the parents highlight the public’s “general lack of understanding” about the disease, resulting in “inappropriate reaction and fear,” explained Eamonn Murphy, Vietnam director for UNAIDS. According to Murphy, children comprise about 5,100 of the 290,000 people living in Vietnam with HIV.

The article includes information about plans for HIV-positive children to be enrolled in government schools next year and details about the classroom setting for students at the orphanage (Mydans, 10/13). An accompanying slide show provides snapshots of a day in the life of the students at the Mai Hoa AIDS Center (10/13).