HIV AIDS prevention and Control Bill gets passed in Lok Sabha
The crucial bill ensures equal rights to the people affected by HIV and AIDS in getting treatment, admissions in educational institutions and jobs.
NEW DELHI: Aiming to strengthen the rights of the people infected with HIV, Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017.
The crucial bill ensures equal rights to the people affected by HIV and AIDS in getting treatment, admissions in educational institutions and jobs. Union health minister J P Nadda termed the unanimous passage of the Bill historic saying that the government is committed for free treatment of HIV patients.
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. “whosoever does not adhere to the provisions of the bill will be penalised. There would also be civil and criminal proceedings against them…Legal action, would be initiated against the persons for creating an environment against the HIV patients,” he added.
The Bill lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited. It has provisions to safeguard the property rights of HIV positive people. The minister said that every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household.
During the discussion, the minister said the government will promote research to check HIV virus and come out with aggressive strategies on this, especially in high risk areas, counselling and testing.
“The rate of new HIV infections have dropped by 67 per cent, from 2.5 lakh to 85,000 and AIDS related deaths have declined to 54 per cent, which is more than the global average,” said Nadda.
Nadda also responded to members’ concerns over raising the awareness level about HIV among the people, as he said the Indian outreach programme was well appreciated across the world as it seeks to spreads awareness aggressively by reaching out to those who stay even in high risk areas.
The minister said that the Bill also seeks to create an enabling environment for HIV infected people. "The bill has a provision under which action would also be taken against those who create hatred against HIV patients," he said.
Dr Heena Gavit from BJP said that there should be ventilators available in all hospitals that may be used for HIV patients. It is important to educate children about these diseases. It should be included in curriculum of students, she added.
Varaprasad Rao of YSR Congress raised lack of coordination between the Centre and the states to deal with the HIV issue.