The Rajya Sabha has passed HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014. 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). It also seeks to strengthen legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances to probe discrimination complaints against those who discriminate against PLHIV.
Salient Features of Bill
- Prevention and control the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS.
- 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.
- Obligations on establishments to safeguard rights of persons living with HIV arid create mechanisms for redressing complaints.
- 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.
- Prohibits, requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education.
- Prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and PLHIV.
There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India, the third highest number after South Africa and Nigeria. Currently, HIV is more prevalent in high-risk groups like female sex workers, homosexuals and drug addicts. The prevalence of HIV is decreasing over the last decade but percentage of PLHIV receiving Anti-Retroviral therapy (ART) treatment are merely 28.82% against global percentage of 41%.