At least 28 Gauteng school pupils had to receive urgent antiretroviral treatment as a precaution after three grade 4 pupils pricked them with syringes last week, the Gauteng department of education said on Wednesday.
"The Gauteng department of education can confirm that a grade 4 learner brought syringes on Friday, 15 September 2017, and she and two friends allegedly started injecting fellow learners," said department spokesperson Steve Mabona.
He said the parents were contacted and told to rush their children who attend a school in Kempton Park for urgent medical attention.
"As a precautionary measure, medication was administered to learners ie ARVs or Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).
"Unfortunately, some learners reacted negatively to medication by vomiting, while others experienced running stomach," said Mabona.
He said the needles belonged to a family member of a grade 4 learner who is using them for hormonal reasons.
"We can also confirm that the syringes were sent to the laboratory for tests. A process to conduct counselling to all affected learners has commenced and will continue until the reintegration of learners to the school is concluded."
The children accused of injecting the pupils face a disciplinary process, and the owner of the syringes faces a police investigation.
"This is indeed an unfortunate incident to occur in a schooling environment; we call upon parents to always be cautious on things that might be detrimental to children lives," said Mabona.