New Delhi, Feb 16: The Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) has demanded the immediate tabling of a long-pending HIV/AIDS Bill in the budget session of Parliament in order to protect the rights of the AIDS affected. They said that only a law in this regard can bring succour to millions of HIV positive suffering people, who face discrimination at the workplace and from the doctors and medicos.
"If we follow the rights-based approach, it works. Rights-based approach means a law, to protect the person who is positive and those who are not positive from being infected. There are of HIV concern issues like consent and confidentiality, which are matters, called common law which judges decide now. They can decide whatever they want but we can't have inconsistencies, so we need a statutory law," said Anand Grover, Director of the Lawyers' Collective (HIV/AIDS unit).
"Discrimination is a big issue. It is not applicable to the private sector, so we have to have law, which is applicable to the private sector. We have based our laws on the policies which cannot overwrite other laws, so you need to have a law," he added.
The HIV/AIDS Bill, pending with the government for the last two years, was drafted by the lawyers' collective (HIV/AIDS unit) after extensive research and nationwide consultations with various stakeholders.
India has roughly 2.5 million people infected with HIV, less than half the number of cases that previous studies estimated. An earlier UN study had estimated 5.7 million HIV cases, which would have been the highest total in the world. But as per the latest available data, India, which has a population of 1.1 billion, has fewer HIV cases than South Africa and Nigeria.