Bill to protect HIV community cleared-The Hindu

  • “The Bill seeks to prevent stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.
  • These amendments will allow families that have faced discrimination to go to court against institutions or persons being unfair.
  • With the amendments, establishments keeping records of information of PLHIV have been asked to adopt data protection measures as the Bill requires that “no person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order.”

The Bill lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV-positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.

These include

  1. the denial,
  2. termination,
  3. discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to employment,
  4. educational establishments,
  5. health care services,
  6. residing or renting property,
  7. standing for public or private office, and
  8. provision of insurance (unless based on actuarial studies).
  • Further, requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited.

‘Step in right direction’

  • The Bill comes at a time when the national HIV programme has weakened due to Budget slashes and patients are facing drug shortages across the country.
  • “This is a step in the right direction.
  • We also need to address the inadequate funding, the procurement system that is resulting in drug shortages and the lack of clarity in the HIV policy.
  • The programme has become low priority and my hope is that this Bill will empower civil society to hold those stigmatising the HIV community in contempt.
  • According to the proposal, every HIV infected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household.

Source: The Hindu

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