On April 11, 2017, Parliament passed Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017 to ensure equality for HIV positive persons in spheres of education, employment and treatment.
- This Bill was already passed by Rajya Sabha on March 21, 2017.
Key Provisions of HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017:
- Prohibition of Discrimination: The bill prohibits discrimination towards HIV positive persons in areas of education, jobs, healthcare treatment, availing insurance, holding public/private office and residing or renting a property.
- Prohibition of HIV testing for job and education: Practice of conducting HIV test before recruiting for a job, giving admission in educational institution or providing health care facility has been prohibited.
- Disclosure of HIV Status: Affected person’s informed consent has to be sought before disclosing his/her HIV status.
- Rights of HIV positive persons below 18: Such persons have been granted right to reside in a shared household and can enjoy the ensuing facilities.
- Role of Govt.: Central and State Governments have been entrusted with several responsibilities viz. preventing the spread of HIV, providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) to affected persons, conducting HIV/AIDs awareness programmes for different sections of the society and helping HIV positive person to take benefit of Govt. welfare schemes
- Judicial Proceedings: Court cases involving HIV positive persons will be accorded priority. During the proceedings, courts should take proper care to protect the identity of such persons.
- Violation of the Act: Complaints relating to violation of provisions of this act, shall be looked into by an ombudsmen appointed by the State Govt. Ombudsmen is required to update the status of these complaints to state govt., every six months.
Abbreviation HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. If HIV infection is left untreated, it leads to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV attacks the immune system of the body and thereby makes it vulnerable to whole new range of other infections.
- Transmission: HIV is mainly spread through unprotected sex, infected blood transfusion or is passed on to child from infected mother during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- Symptoms: In the early stage of infection, patient may have flu-like symptoms such as fever, sore throat and chills. In later stage, the patient may experience rapid weight loss, pneumonia, night sweats and other infections which rarely affect normal people. Range of symptoms and severity may vary from case to case.
- Cure: Currently, HIV infections are not 100% curable. However, by taking up antiretroviral therapy (ART) the patient’s life can be prolonged and risk of spreading the infection can also be contained.
Globally about 3.6 crore people (including 18 lakh children) are currently living with HIV/AIDS. India is home to about 21.17 lakh HIV positive people. In 2015, 68000 people in India lost their lives due to AIDS.