Health ministry implements HIV AIDS Act 2017
The Ministry of Health has announced the implementation of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Act 2017. Rajya Sabha passed the bill in March that criminalizes discrimination against patients suffering Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
The Highlights About Bill
|1||The bill is a milestone because it empowers a person living with HIV to report discrimination meted out against them in fields of employment, health care services, educational services, public facilities, property rights, holding public office, and insurance. The Act penalizes “propagation of hatred” against the protected person where a violator could be punished with a minimum jail term of three months to a maximum of two years and can be fined up to one lakh rupees.|
|2||The Act makes Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) a legal right for all HIV/AIDS patients. It has also adopted “test and treat” policy which means any person testing positive will be entitled to free treatment by the state and central government. Earlier, this was restricted by a CD4 count rate.|
|3||It also provides for confidentiality of HIV-related information and makes it necessary to get informed consent for undertaking HIV tests, medical treatment and research. The law makes it mandatory for state governments to appoint an Ombudsman to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act and the provision of health care services.|
|4||If a person or an institution fails to comply with any order given by the Ombudsman within the stipulated period of time, they could be fined a maximum of Rs 10,000. A continuous failure could lead to an additional fine of up to Rs 5000 every day until they comply.|
|5||The new legislation has provisions to safeguard the property rights of HIV positive people. Every HIV infected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household.|