Aiming to safeguard the rights of HIV and AIDS patients, government on Tuesday announced the implementation of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Act, 2017 beginning 10 September, 2018. The act aims to prohibit discrimination against such patients in terms of treatment, employment and workplace. The Act was passed on 20 April, 2017.
“The provisions of the Act address HIV-related discrimination, strengthen the existing programme by bringing in legal accountability, and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances,” health ministry said in a press release.
No person shall now be required to disclose his HIV status for employment or services purposes, except with their informed consent, and if required by a court order, the Act says.
Various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited include: (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 (unless based on actuarial studies).
Each state government is required to appoint an ombudsman to look into the complaints related to the Act violation and the provision of health care services.
“As per provisions of the Act, a person between the age of 12 to 18 years who has sufficient maturity in understanding and managing the affairs of his HIV or AIDS affected family shall be competent to act as a guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age to be applicable in the matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, care and treatment, amongst others,” the Act lays down.