The stigma of having HIV is alive and well in a small Chinese village: Its residents want to banish 8-year-old "Kun Kun" (a fake name being used to protect his identity) for his illness, UPI reports. At least 200 Xichong locals, including the boy's own grandfather, signed a petition on Dec. 7 to get "Kun Kun away from the village, and protect the health of the villagers and children," the BBC reports. "He's a ticking time bomb," a villager tells a local paper, per CNN. "What happens if [my daughter] gets bitten while playing with him here at home? That boy is too dangerous." According to a Beijing Youth Daily story, Kun Kun hasn't gone to school since 2011; he spends his days playing in the woods and setting things around the village on fire.
Kun Kun contracted the virus from his mom in the womb but wasn't diagnosed until he was 5. He doesn't even have that mother's love to support him as he struggles to fit in: He lives with his grandparents while his mom and stepfather work in other provinces. The Daily published a picture of Kun Kun watching his grandfather sign the petition before the child "raced home, climbed into bed, and laid there wordlessly." Local authorities who got wind of the petition say they want to "conduct ideological education" to get Kun Kun's community to respect and accept him; they also are trying to find a group to take Kun Kun in, as his grandparents say they are elderly and in poor health. (A study says HIV may turn less lethal as the years go by.)