The HIV/AIDS Bill which has been shuttling between the Health Ministry and the Law Ministry after it was first submitted to the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) in 2006, has finally been introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 11th February, 2014.
More than 2 million people are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS in India, according to the Ministry of Health.
Prohibition of discrimination in employment, education, healthcare, travel, and insurance in both the public and private sectors; and taking non-coerced, written informed consent for HIV testing, treatment and research are some of the key provisions in the Bill. An HIV patients right to privacy and confidentiality about his or her HIV status, with some exceptions, and access to free treatment by the state are some of the other key provisions of the Bill.
As the Bill has been introduced in the Rajya Sabha, it will not lapse once the term of the present Lok Sabha comes to an end. It is now expected to go to the parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare for their recommendations. The standing committee deliberates and suggests modifications.
It is hoped that bill will get passed soon after the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 and would restore the dignity of the patients suffering from HIV/AIDS. It would also make more patients seek the medical treatment and would help in effective healthcare.