The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, on Monday, implemented the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) Prevention and Control Act of 2017. The Act was passed by the Rajya Sabha on March 21, 2017.
It covers a few key factors, including the fact it ensures that people living with HIV/AIDS do not face discrimination on the grounds of their health. The Act clearly states that no one can legally deny a person with HIV/AIDS employment, education or healthcare services. A person cannot be turned away from a job or a home, citing HIV/AIDS as the reason.
Furthermore, it has also been added that under this Act, no medical tests will be conducted on people with HIV/AIDS without their consent and that no person will be required to disclose their HIV/AIDS status unless mandated to do so by a court order.
In addition, the role of the Central and state governments have also been mentioned clearly to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS. The state and Centre are expected to raise awareness about the virus itself, and the measures available to fight it, such as the programmes organised by them, the medication available, etc.
They are also required to set up awareness campaigns and provide guidelines for managing children who may also be affected with HIV/AIDS.
As per the Act, an ombudsman is required to be set up by the government to look into cases in which the terms of the same may have been violated. It has also mentioned that any court cases involving an individual affected with HIV/AIDS is subject to strict protocol which will help ensure that the individual's identity is protected. This includes restricting cameras in courtrooms if needed.
The implementation of this Act is a welcome gesture in keeping HIV/AIDS-affected persons from facing unnecessary bias, as well as to improve the general population’s understanding of the same.