by Work the World

Campaigners in Tanzania have criticised schools that make HIV-positive pupils wear a red ribbon on their uniforms.

Although headmasters say it is is simply done at parent's requests to ensure students do not get involved in strenuous activities that may affect their health, campaigners say the the stigmatisation is against the law and revealing another persons health status is against the law.

According to UNAids, approximately 5% of the population live with the disease - about 1.4m people. The HIV and Aids Prevention and Control Act is in place to ensure they are protected, and campaigners say that anyone with concrete evidence of stigmatisation can to be taken to court and be sentenced for up to three years.

The school in question is based in Kibaha, a suburb of Dar es Salaam, but other schools support the labelling - some using tabs on collars to identify children with a disease. Mohammed Lukema, head of Kibaha Primary School, told the Telegraph that the idea "was raised by parents, teachers and school leavers and seems to have been happening for some time. The general feeling was that it wasn't a good thing because life is hard enough for students living with HIV without making life harder for them at school."

Rebecca Mshumbusi, chairperson of the Kibaha Association of People Living with HIV/Aids, disagrees."Students wearing these ribbons are sometimes shunned by other pupils who don't want to share or be near them because they fear they will be infected. There must be another well to help these children."

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