India brings HIV/AIDS Act into force

October 10, 2018 0 By CH Unnikrishnan

India’s health ministry has enforced the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 with effect from September 10, 2018.

The Act, which aims to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV, has provisions to address HIV-related discrimination, strengthen the existing anti-discrimination programme by bringing in legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances.

Seeking to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS, the Act lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited. These include the denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to: (i) employment, (ii) educational establishments, (iii) health care services, (iv) residing or renting property, (v) standing for public or private office, and (vi) provision of insurance.

The requirement for HIV testing as a prerequisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited.

Every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household. The Act also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them.