Parliament has passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017. It is the first national HIV law in South Asia.
The Bill seeks to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. It aims to prevent social stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV (PLHIV).
- Prevention and control the spread of HIV and AIDS. It prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS.
- Privacy of PLHIV: No person will be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order.
- Establishments keeping records of information of PLHIV must adopt data protection measures.
- Prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and PLHIV.
- Safeguarding Rights: Obligations on establishments to safeguard rights of persons living with HIV arid create mechanisms for redressing complaints.
- Strengthen legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances to probe discrimination complaints against those who discriminate against PLHIV.
- It ensures that no HIV test, medical treatment or research is conducted on a person without his informed consent.
- Grounds of discrimination: Lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV-positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.
- These include the denial, discontinuation, termination or unfair treatment with regard to employment, educational establishments, health care services, renting property etc.
- Bans unfair treatment of people living with and affected by HIV with regard to accessing public facilities, such as shops, hotels, restaurants, public entertainment venues, public facilities and burial grounds.
- Pre-requisite HIV testing: Prohibits, requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education.
There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India. The prevalence of HIV in India is decreasing since last decade but percentage of PLHIV receiving Anti-Retroviral therapy (ART) treatment is merely 28.82% against global percentage of 41%. The Bill will provide essential support to National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) in arresting new spread of HIV infections and thereby achieving the target of “Ending the epidemic by 2030” to meet goal Sustainable Development Goals.