CIVIL SOCIETY APPLAUDS APPROVAL OF THE HIV/AIDS BILL BY THE CABINET
HIV POSITIVE PEOPLE EAGERLY AWAIT PASSING OF THE BILL WITH RIGHT TO COMPLETE TREATMENT
5 October 2016, New Delhi: Civil society groups from across the country, including the People Living with HIV today expressed happiness over the Cabinet clearing the HIV/AIDS Bill for passage in the winter session of Parliament. HIV affected groups have been demanding for the passing of this Bill since 2006. Appreciating the government’s move, Manoj Pardesi from National Coalition of People Living with HIV said “We have been demanding for the passing of this Bill for the last 10 years. I hope that now there is no delay and the Bill is passed in the
upcoming winter session.”
The Bill protects the People Living with HIV and their family members from stigma and discrimination they face in their day to day life. It also provides for informed consent for HIV testing and treatment and right to confidentiality of one’s HIV status. However, there is lack of clarity on whether the Bill which is cleared by the Cabinet today provides for free and complete treatment.
HIV positive people, since 2006, have been demanding that the Bill should provide free and complete treatment, as a matter of right, as opposed to the Bill tabled in 2014. That Bill only stated that State should provide HIV treatment „as far as possible‟. For the last two years, People Living with HIV, have been demanding that the terms ‘as far as possible‟ be deleted from the chapter on treatment. “Free and Complete treatment is the core of the Bill for us. We hope that the Bill which is cleared by the Cabinet is providing it.”, said Paul Lhungdim of Delhi Network
of Positive People.”
The struggle to get this Bill passed has taken over ten years. The Bill was drafted by Lawyers Collective after series of consultations with all the key stakeholders including People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and Most at Risk Populations. The Bill shuttled between the Health Ministry and Law Ministry from 2007 to 2014. “Many other countries like Vietnam and Kenya in the mean time have passed their HIV laws years ago. It‟s time that India, doesn‟t delay this any more and ensure that the Bill is passed in the upcoming winter session.”, said Anand Grover, Project
Director, Lawyers Collective.
It is time that India provides PLHIV a legislation that protects their rights. This much awaited law will be a huge step forward in fighting the stigma and discrimination against HIV affected people.
For further information, please contact:
National Coalition for the Passing of the HIV Bill