The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)  Control and Prevention Bill, 2017 is finally passed in the Lok Sabha on the 11th April, 2017. The bill was introduced in order to strengthen some  of the rights of the people who are suffering from HIV or AIDS. India is consideres as the third largest HIV epidemic of the world. This was approved by the Union Cabinet, after long years of deliberation, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Modi.

During the year 2015, about 2.1 million people were infected and were living with these diseases which has not yet found a cure or preventive measure. Despite of the change in time and advancement, HIV and AIDS are till now considered as a taboo in India and therefore, the new bill brings a fresh lease of hope to the people suffering from this.

Starting with, the Bill makes it’s treatment a legal right which every HIV/AIDS patients should have. Apart from this, it also mentions all the various number of grounds on which the discrimination against HIV and AIDS patients are prohibited from the rights they have. Those who do not adhere to these rights might have to face civil and even criminal proceedings in the worst case. There are 8 important things that the new bill will address.

1. According to the legislation, discrimination against people living with, and those who are affected by, HIV even in terms of employment as well  as admission in educational institutions or renting some property , access to insurance and the freedom of movement should be stopped.

  1. Every individual who is under the care and custody of the State has rights to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counselling services. The State and Central government would also facilitate access to welfare schemes for women and children in specific.
  2.  There is a ban on the unfair treatment given to people who are living with and affected are by HIV while accessing public facilities, like shops, restaurants, hotels, public entertainment venues, public facilities and burial grounds.
  3. The Bill stops individuals from publishing information or their feelings of hatred against those who are suffering from HIV positive or AIDS and even those who are living with them.
  4. The Bill has made  provisions to help the people who are living with HIV or AIDS in order to ensure their rights to property. Every individual above the age of 18 has the right to stay in a shared household and also enjoy all the possible facilities.
  5. The bill also ensures that equal rights are provided to the people affected by HIV and AIDS on getting treatment and right to good health care.
  6. From now onwards, no HIV test, medical treatment or research would be conducted on a person without his consent and no person shall be forced to disclose his or her HIV status without their consent, and if required, by a court’s order.
  7. The Bill also indicates that all cases that are related to HIV positive individuals should be given priority and resolved duly ensuring them to keep it confidential in all matters.

Welcoming the passage of the landmark legislation, UNAIDS said that the Bill would improve access to justice for People Living with HIV . “This is an important step forward for people living with and affected by HIV in India and around the world,” said Steve Kraus, Director, UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Asia and the Pacific.

 

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