Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017
|The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017|
|Parliament of India|
|An Act to provide for the prevention and control of the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and for the protection of human rights of persons affected by the said virus and syndrome and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.|
|Citation||Act No. 16 of 2017|
|Enacted by||Rajya Sabha|
|Passed||21 March 2017|
|Enacted by||Lok Sabha|
|Passed||11 April 2017|
|Assented to||20 April 2017|
|Commenced||21 April 2017|
|Bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha||The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014|
|Bill citation||Bill No. III of 2014|
|Bill published on||11 February 2014|
|Committee report||Standing Committee Report|
|Date passed by conference committee||29 April 2015|
|Status: In force|
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017, often shortened to the HIV/AIDS Prevention Act or simply the HIV/AIDS Act, is an Act of the Parliament of India that prohibits discrimination against individuals who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The law makes India the first country in South Asia to prohibit discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, and also makes India the largest country to have such a law.
The process of drafting a law to prevent and control the spread of HIV/AIDS was first begun in 2002. The current bill originates from a draft bill created by the Lawyers Collective, a non-governmental organization. The draft bill was officially presented to the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in 2006.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014 (Bill No. III of 2014) was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 17 February 2014 by then Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad. The primary objectives of the Bill were to prevent and control the spread of HIV/AIDS, ban discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, and provide for treatment of such persons. The bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare on 26 February, and the Committee submitted its report on 29 April 2015.
Due to a change of government following the 2014 general election, progress on the bill was delayed. The HIV/AIDS bill received a renewed push under the new government in July 2016. The government made several changes to the Bill in response to concerns raised by the HIV community and state governments. The bill was moved in the Rajya Sabha by Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Jagat Prakash Nadda and passed by the House on 21 March 2017. During the debate on the bill, Nadda said, "I would like to inform the House that while making the rules, we will ensure that nobody is denied treatment and we are committed to provide medical treatment to all those living with HIV or AIDS. We are going with an aggressive policy." In response to civil society organizations concerns that state governments may deny treatment to patients, Nadda reiterated the government's commitment saying, "India will treat anyone with HIV and AIDS."
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 11 April 2017. Nadda termed the enactment of the bill as "historic". He added, "It is not the case that before coming of this bill, these HIV infected people were not empowered but with the passage of this bill they will get more powers." The bill received assent from then President Pranab Mukherjee on 20 April, and was notified in The Gazette of India on 21 April 2017.
The Act prohibits discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS for the purposes of employment, access to educational establishments, healthcare and insurance services, renting property, or running for public or private office. The law also bans any form of expression that is deemed as inciting hatred against people infected with HIV/AIDS.
The law prohibits conducting an HIV test, medical treatment or research on a person without their informed consent. The Act prohibits a person from being forced to disclose their HIV/AIDS status, unless mandated by a court order. However, no informed consent will be required by licensed blood banks, medical research, and epidemiological purposes where an HIV test is conducted anonymously and not for the purpose of identifying a specific HIV positive individual. For example, a blood bank will not require the consent of a donor to conduct an HIV test on their blood sample because the test is intended to determine whether the sample is safe for donation, and not to identify whether the individual is HIV-positive.
It also mandates the Union and State governments to provide HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counseling services to any individual who is under the care or legal custody of the State.
Steve Kraus of the U.N. AIDS Regional Support Team for Asia and the Pacific said, "The legislation begins to remove barriers and empowers people to challenge violations of their human rights." Huidrom Rosenara of the India HIV/AIDS Alliance said, "There have been many incidents of discrimination in hospitals, schools, and communities, and even though the rate of such incidents has gone down in recent years, they still occur." She felt that the law "is a long awaited and positive move. We are very optimistic about it as it speaks volumes about the political commitment."
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