The Parliament on April 11 passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017. The bill guarantees equal rights and medical treatment to people suffering from HIV and AIDS.
The bill prohibits discrimination with people suffering from HIV and/or AIDS in terms of employment, education and renting a property, holding of public or private office, access to insurance and the freedom of movement. The bill also has provisions to provide good healthcare to the affected people.
The Bill also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV-positive persons and those living with them.
Terming the bill “historic” and “people-centric” Health Minister J.P. Nadda said the government “stands committed to free treatment of HIV patients”. “It is not the case that before the coming of this Bill, these people [those infected with HIV] were not empowered. But with the passage of this Bill, they will get more powers,” he said.
“Whosoever does not adhere to the provisions of the Bill will be penalised. There would also be civil and criminal proceedings against them. An action would be also taken against those who come between the implementation of the provisions of the proposed Bill,” he added.
The Bill is a huge step in India as HIV/AIDS is still considered a taboo in the country. India has the third largest HIV epidemic in the world. Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nation aim to end the epidemic by 2030.