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4/12/2017 HIVandAIDS(PreventionandControl)Bill,2017

HIVandAIDS(PreventionandControl)Bill,2017
forumias.com /portal/hivandaidspreventionandcontrolbill2017/
4/12/2017

Context

Thelongawaited,acrucialpublichealthlegislationguaranteeingequalrightstoIndiasHIVcommunityHuman
ImmunodeficiencyVirus(HIV)andAcquiredImmuneDeficiencySyndrome(AIDS)(Preventionand
Control)Bill,2017waspassedbytheParliament.

Approximately21lakhpeoplearelivingwithHIV,aspergovernmentestimates.Theadultprevalenceisinthe
rangeof0.3%,ofwhicharound40%arewomen.Despitethisenormousprogressandtheavailabilityoftesting
andtreatment,stigmaanddiscriminationagainstHIVaffectedindividualsinIndiaremainswidespread.

Thereisaneedtoprovideanenvironmenttosuchpeopleinwhichtheyfeelprotected

SalientfeaturesoftheBill:

1.ProhibitionofdiscriminationagainstHIVpositivepersons:

DiscriminationagainstHIVpositivepersonsandthoselivingwiththemhasbeenprohibitedonvarious
grounds.
Theseincludethedenial,termination,discontinuationorunfairtreatmentwithregardto:(i)employment,(ii)
educationalestablishments,(iii)healthcareservices,(iv)residingorrentingproperty,(v)standingforpublic
orprivateoffice,and(vi)provisionofinsurance(unlessbasedonactuarialstudies).
ThestipulationforHIVtestingasaprerequisiteforobtainingemploymentoraccessinghealthcareor
educationhasbeenprohibited.

2.DataProtectionandPrivacy

DisclosureofHIVstatusshallonlybepermittedwiththeaffectedpersonsinformedconsent,andif
required,byaCourtorder.EstablishmentkeepingrecordsofinformationofHIVpositivepersonshave
beendirectedtoadoptdataprotectionmeasures.
4/12/2017 HIVandAIDS(PreventionandControl)Bill,2017

3.PositiveRightsConferredonpersonswithHIV

HIVpositivepersonsbelowtheageof18yearshavetherighttoresideinasharedhousehold,andenjoy
thefacilitiesofthehousehold.
CentralandStateGovernmentshavebeenmaderesponsiblefor

preventingthespreadofHIVorAIDS,
providingantiretroviraltherapyandinfectionmanagementforpersonswithHIVorAIDS,
facilitatingtheiraccesstowelfareschemesespeciallyforwomenandchildren,
formulatingHIVorAIDSeducationcommunicationprogrammesthatareageappropriate,gender
sensitive,andnonstigmatizing,and
LayingguidelinesforthecareandtreatmentofchildrenwithHIVorAIDS.

4.CourtProceedings

Courtshavebeendirectedtodisposeofonprioritybasis,casesrelatingtoHIVpositivepersons.Inany
legalproceeding,ifanHIVinfectedoraffectedpersonisaparty,theCourtmaypassordersthatthe
proceedingsbeconducted(a)bysuppressingtheidentityoftheperson,(b)incamera,and(c)torestrain
anypersonfrompublishinginformationthatdisclosestheidentityoftheapplicant.

5.Ombudsman

ThecomplaintsrelatingtoviolationoftheAct,aswellastheprovisionofhealthcareservicesshallbe
inquiredintobyanombudsman,whoshallbeappointedbyeachStateGovernment.Theombudsmanis
expectedtosubmitareporttotheStateGovernmenteverysixmonths,statingthenumberandnatureof
complaintsreceived,theactionstakenandorderspassed.

6.InformedConsent

ItensuresthatnoHIVtest,medicaltreatmentorresearchwillbeconductedonapersonwithouthis
informedconsent.NopersonshallbecompelledtodisclosehisHIVstatusexceptwithhisinformed
consent,andifrequired,byacourtorder.

Analysisofthelaw

Itisnotthecasethatbeforecomingofthisbill,thesepeople(infectedwithHIV)werenotempowered.But
withthepassageofthisbilltheywillgetmorepowers.
Legalandpenalactionagainstthosewhodonotadheretotheprovisionsofthebillandforcreatingan
environmentagainsttheHIVpatientsisawelcomemeasure.
Theprotectionwouldbeprovidedtothepeopleworkinginthehealthinstitutions.Facilities,secured
environmentandlogisticswouldbeprovided.

Whatmorecouldhavebeendone?

IndiasHIVcommunity,however,confesseditselfdisappointedastheBillplacesanobligationontheState
governmentstoprovidetreatmentasfaraspossible,makingitweakandopentointerpretation.
4/12/2017 HIVandAIDS(PreventionandControl)Bill,2017

AconcreteassuranceandsafeguardoftreatmentintheIndianConstitutionwithconstitutionalorlegal
statuswouldhavegonelongwayinassuringpeoplethatthegovernmentstandscommittedforfree
treatmentofHIVpatients.
TheGovernmentshouldpromoteresearchtocheckHIVvirusandcomeoutwithaggressivestrategieson
this,especiallyinhighriskareas,counsellingandtesting.
ThereisnocoordinationbetweentheCentreandthestatestodealwiththeHIVissue.Governmentshould
alsolookforinsurancecoverfortheaffectedpeoplewiththepremiumbeingpaidbythegovernment.
HIVPositivepeopleshouldbegiventherighttoadoptchildren.
CurrentlythenationalHIVprogrammehasweakenedduetobudgetcuts,withrecentlyIndiafacing
nationwidestockoutsofdiagnostickitsandpediatricformulationsofantiretrovirals(ARTs).Budgetary
allocationshouldincrease.AndtheBilldoesntgivelegaloptionstopatientsincasestocksrunout.

AdditionalInformation

Antiretroviraltherapy(ART)consistsofacombinationofantiretroviral(ARV)drugstomaximallysuppress
theHIVvirus,andstopprogressionofthedisease.
IndiarunssecondlargestAntiretroviralTherapy(ART)programmeintheworldtherateofnewHIV
infectionshavedroppedby67%,from2.5lakhto85,000andAIDSrelateddeathshavedeclinedto54%,
whichismorethantheglobalaverage.
ThegovernmentspentRs2,000croreonARTaloneandthiswasa100%centrallysponsoredscheme
UnderGoal4oftheMilleniumDevelopmentGoals,HIV,malariaandtuberculosishadtobearrestedand
reversed.
Thereare22,000HIVtestingcentresinthecountry,whichconducted2.9croreHIVtests,including1.3
crorepregnantwomen.
IndianPharmaindustryhasabigroletoplayinmakingcosteffectivemedicinesavailabletothepeople

PracticeQuestions
Questions

1.HumanrightsperspectivetopublichealthisimportantwhichhasbeenmissinginIndianlawsrelatedto
health.Situationseemstobechangingnow.ExaminewithrespecttoMentalHealthBillandHIVBill.
2.Inthelongterm,ourgoalshouldbetomakeanIndiawherenonewHIVinfectionoccurs.Outlinedifferent
programsandlawsbroughtaboutbythegovernmentofIndia.

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