AIDS Current Affairs - 2019
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India has made significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS in recent years. The following steps have been initiated by the government to strengthen the fight against HIV:
- A 360-degree multimedia campaign along with mass media supported by outdoor media such as hoardings, bus panels, information kiosks, folk performances and exhibition vans to create awareness on HIV/AIDS has been initiated.
- Training and sensitization programmes for Self-Help Groups, Anganwadi workers, ASHA, members of Panchayati Raj Institutions and other key stakeholders are also being organised to spread awareness about treatment and other facilities.
- Awareness activities are being conducted amongst High-Risk Groups including Female Sex Workers, Men having Sex with Men, Injecting Drug Users, Hijra/ Transgenders and Bridge Population like truck drivers, migrants etc. as part of Targeted Intervention projects.
- HIV & AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 has been notified to address the challenges related to the disease in a comprehensive way.
- The act addresses various issues like discrimination against People Living with HIV at the workplace, an education setting, health setting and public places and also provides for a robust grievance redressal mechanism where compliant against discrimination would be disposed by Ombudsman at the state level.
- Steps have been taken by the government to track the patients through HIV diagnosis from care to treatment
- Patients diagnosed with HIV are put on Anti Retro Viral Treatment irrespective of their CD4 Count.
- Mission Sampark has been launched to reach out to all those who are Left to Follow Up and are to be brought under Antiretroviral therapy (ART) services.
- Counsellors are tasked to ensure tracking of HIV positive patients through telephone and home visits in the case of those who drop out between diagnosis and treatment to maintain their adherence to treatment.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Strategic Plan 2017-24 aimed at eradicating HIV/AIDS by 2030.
Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued notification for bringing Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 in force from 10th September, 2018.
The Act safeguards rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. It also addresses HIV-related discrimination, strengthen existing programme by bringing in legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances.
Key Provisions of the Act
The Act seeks to prevent and control spread of HIV and AIDS, prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS. It lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.
These discrimination grounds include denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to (i) employment (ii) educational establishments (iii) health care services, (iv) standing for public or private office, (v) residing or renting property and (vi) provision of insurance.
It also prohibits requirement for HIV testing as pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education. It mentions that every HIV infected or affected person below age of 18 years has right to reside in shared household and enjoy facilities of household.
It also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them. It gives right to every person in care and custody of the state to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counseling services.
It mentions that person between 12 to 18 years of age having sufficient maturity in understanding and managing affairs of his HIV or AIDS affected family will be competent to act as guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age. This will be applicable in matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, care and treatment, amongst others.