New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017, which will strengthen the rights of the people infected with the disease.
Here are some important features you need to know about the HIV/AIDS Bill passed in Lok Sabha:
- The bill ensures equal rights to the people affected by HIV and AIDS in getting treatment, admissions in educational institutions and jobs.
- The HIV/AIDS Bill asserts that there would be no discrimination against persons infected with HIV on ground of treatment, employment and workplace. And whosoever who does not adhere to the provisions of the bill will be penalised.
- Dubbing the bill as patient-centric and progressive in nature, Health Minister JP Nadda said that the government will soon come out with a new test and treat policy for the people living with HIV for providing free treatment to them.
- The legislation has also provisions to safeguard the property rights of HIV positive people - which means 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.
- The bill ensures that no HIV test, medical treatment or research will be conducted on a person without his informed consent. It also has a provision under which no person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required, by a court order.
Earlier, the HIV/AIDS Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on March 21.
At the end of 2015, there were an estimated 2.1 million people living with HIV in India.
However, Nadda said the rate of new HIV infections have dropped by 67%, from 2.5 lakh to 85,000 and AIDS related deaths have declined to 54% per cent, which is more than the global average.
Asserting that India runs second largest Antiretroviral Theraphy (ART) programme in the world, the minister also said the government spent Rs 2000 crore on ART alone for such patients last year, while adding that there were 22,000 HIV testing centres in the country, which conducted 2.9 crore HIV tests, including 1.3 crore pregnant women.