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Expulsion of two HIV positive boys from Gujarat Orphanage

Two minor boys were expelled from an orphanage in Gandhidham in Kutch district of Gujarat after they tested positive for HIV.//

Three months back, the brothers aged 6 and 9 were brought to the local Arya Samaj run Jeevan Prabhat orphanage by their maternal uncle. Frequent illness of the boys made the doctors to conduct the test for HIV virus. The Arya Samaj authorities were apprehensive about the results.

Justifying the orphanage’s action, Vachonidhi Arya of the Gandhidham Arya Samaj, said, "Children aged from 4 to 16 years live here. The others might get infected by the two boys. We just didn’t want to take a risk.

"The orphanage houses 162 children orphaned by the 2001 Gujarat quake.Our orphanage is not a project for the care of HIV positive people, " added Arya.

Eventually, the boys handed over to a local NGO, the Kutch Network of Positive People (KNPP), and are now living with a volunteer and a distant relative.

"The boys are like orphans because their mother is dead and their father is mentally unstable. Their uncle said he cannot take care of them and got them admitted to the hostel," said Pande, who heads KNPP.

"However they were frequently ill and a blood test showed they are HIV-positive," he added.

"The two boys were admitted to the hostel in June and were studying in two different private schools, " he said.

Pande said , "We have tried counselling the hostel authorities and the boys' uncle but nobody wishes to keep the boys in their custody.

"As of now, we have kept them at a distant relative's place. We hope to come up with a solution regarding their accommodation and future support after Diwali."

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