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mains Test Series 2018
Q. HIV-Aids bill: Discuss the importance of recently passed HIV-Aids bill.
Apr 18, 2017 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently the Parliament has passed the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, which is aimed at providing a solid base for further empowerment and treatment access for people affected by HIV and Aids. The bill will strengthen public health system for the HIV community and empower the people affected with the disease by giving them legal sanctity. The bill is significant since India has the third largest HIV epidemic in the world. There are approximately 21 lakh persons living with HIV in India.

Key provisions of the bill-

  • It aims to end the epidemic by 2030 in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. 
  • The objective is to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV, by addressing issues like discrimination, strengthening legal accountability and establishes formal mechanisms for redressing grievances.
  • It categorically states that, a person living with AIDS cannot be treated unfairly at employment, educational establishments, renting a property insurance services etc. 
  • It aims to enhance access to healthcare services by ensuring informed consent and confidentiality for HIV-related testing, treatment and clinical research.
  • Bill seeks both the State and Central government should ensure prevention of the spread of HIV and AIDS, provide anti-retroviral therapy, and facilitate access to welfare schemes.

Analysis-

  • The HIV-Aids bill was a long-awaited legislation that seeks to end societal stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV and ensure their right to privacy. The Bill takes a human-rights approach to public health, and makes antiretroviral treatment a legal right of HIV/AIDS patients. 
  • Now it will be obligatory for the Central and State governments to provide for anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and arrange for the management of risk reduction of vulnerable populations. 
  • The bill prohibits arbitrary and discriminatory acts by the state against people affected by HIVs and their families. Therefore, the bill has the foundations of civil liberties at its centre, providing for positive and negative obligations for the State towards approximately 21 lakh PLHIVs in India.
  • Though bill has strong base for empowerment of people affected by HIV/Aids, but it does not guarantee access to anti-retroviral drugs. The government’s commitment to take all measures necessary to prevent the spread of HIV or AIDS is not reflected in the Bill, in the form of the right to treatment. The law only enjoins the States to provide access, as far as possible.
  • Similarly the Bill does not elucidate on the legal dissonance between its provisions of non-discrimination and other acts and case-law that discriminate against sex-workers, homosexuals and transgenders.

What’s can be done- 

  • Though law aims to empower HIV affected people, but it has some important loopholes, hence it would be appropriate for the Central government to initiate active public consultations to draw up the many guidelines to govern the operation of the law. 
  • There is requirement for the ombudsman to make public the periodic reports on compliance will exert pressure on States to meet their obligations and it will enhance the confidence of HIV affected people.

Conclusion-

The recently passed HIV-Aids bill aims to empower the rights of HIV affected people and provides the enhanced health care access. Though bill provides the solid base to safeguard the HIV community from any form of discrimination, but it has failed to grant the right to treatment with justifiable provision. In this background the central government should consult with all stake holders and draft necessary guidelines in this regard.     


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