New Delhi, Sep 11: In efforts to strengthen public health legislature for the HIV community, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday announced that HIV/AIDS Act, 2017 to be implemented from Sept 10, 2018.
The Bill seeks to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS, prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS.
It provides for informed consent and confidentiality with regard to their treatment, places obligations on establishments to safeguard their rights, and creates mechanisms for redressing their complaints.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill was passed on 21 March 2017 in the Rajya Sabha.
Key highlights of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017:
Prohibition of discrimination against HIV positive persons: The Bill sets various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons is prohibited. These include the denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to employment, educational establishments, health care services, residing or renting property, among others.
Informed consent and disclosure of HIV status: The Bill requires that no HIV test, medical treatment, or research will be conducted on a person without his informed consent.
Role of the Union and State Governments: The Union and State Governments shall take measures to prevent the spread of HIV or AIDS, provide anti-retroviral therapy and infection management for persons with HIV or AIDS, facilitate their access to welfare schemes especially for women and children, and others.
Role of the Ombudsman: An ombudsman shall be appointed by each state government to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act and the provision of health care services.
Guardianship: A person between the age of 12 to 18 years who has sufficient maturity in understanding and managing the affairs of his HIV or AIDS affected family shall be competent to act as a guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age.
Court proceedings: Cases relating to HIV positive persons shall be disposed off by the court on a priority basis. In any legal proceeding, if an HIV infected or affected person is a party, the court may pass orders that the proceedings be conducted (a) by suppressing the identity of the person, (b) in camera, and (c) to restrain any person from publishing information that discloses the identity of the applicant.