Published: Thu, April 13, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

India to ban discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS

India to ban discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS

The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, passed by the country's parliament on Tuesday, will make it illegal to discriminate against people living with and affected by HIV. He said the Bill aimed to create an enabling and congenial environment at work places, public spaces, organisations and institutions so that AIDS and HIV patients would feel safe and well-cared for.He said it has adopted an aggressive strategy in high-risk areas, testing and counseling for HIV and AIDS patients.The Minister said the Bill would make it mandatory for the employees in health institutions to be given protection through gloves and safe needles.

Following the passage of the bill, Union Health Minister JP Nadda tweeted: "The #HIVAIDSBill puts obligations of the establishments to provide safe working environment for the #HIV affected people".

Various clauses pertaining to prohibition of discrimination against HIV-positive patients have been enlisted in the bill.

He said,"Under goal 4 of the Millenium Development Goals, HIV, malaria and tuberculosis had to be arrested and reversed".

The minister said that the Bill is meant for empowerment of people infected with HIV and there would be no discrimination against persons infected with HIV. You can not be compelled to disclose your HIV status except with your informed consent (or in cases where required, by a court order).

"Earlier also, discriminating against AIDS patients was not allowed".

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Guardianship: A person between the age of 12 to 18 years who has sufficient maturity in understanding and managing the affairs of his HIV or AIDS affected family shall be competent to act as a guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age.

If an HIV positive person is involved in a case, the court can pass orders to conduct proceeding by suppressing the identity of the individual, on camera or can also prohibit other people from publishing information revealing the identity of the former. It is the first national HIV law in South Asia. If someone fails to adhere to the provisions of the bill, he/she will be penalised.

The bill ensures that those living with the disease are not discriminated against.

Participating in the discussion, TMC member Ratna De Nag said the stigma related to HIV remains intense in the country.

Varaprasad Rao (YSR Congress) said there was no coordination between the Centre and the states to deal with the HIV issue. Lado Kishore Swain (BJD), Shrikanth Shinde (Shiv Sena), Jaiprakash Narayan Yadav (RJD) and Kaushalendra Kumar (JD-U) also spoke.

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