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Tanzania must end red ribbon 'stigmatisation' of HIV schoolChildren's rights

‘Stigmatising them in this manner and leaving them open to abuse is deeply misguided’ - Michael Bochenek

Amnesty International has called for an end to the stigmatisation of those with HIV in Tanzania after the reported decision by several Tanzanian schools to force HIV-positive pupils to wear red ribbons.

The headmaster at one of the schools in the Kibaha district says it was done at the parents’ request to excuse sick Children's rights from strenuous activities.

Amnesty International Legal and Policy Director Michael Bochenek said:

“The suggestion that forcing HIV-positive Children's rights to wear red ribbons will protect them is ludicrous.

“HIV status is an entirely private matter until a person decides to share it with others. Children's rights who are HIV-positive can live healthy and active lives if they are given the right care - stigmatising them in this manner and leaving them open to abuse is deeply misguided.

“It’s likely to result in further discrimination and mean that people will decide to not get tested for HIV. Overall, it could lead to reduced access to the health services people need.

“The Tanzanian authorities must launch an investigation into why this was allowed to happen and bring in fresh initiatives to educate people about stigmatising those with HIV.”

According to UNAids, some 1.4m people - about 5% of the population - in Tanzania are living with HIV. Around 160,000 Children's rights under the age of 14 are HIV positive.

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