The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has announced the implementation of the HIV AIDS Act 2017. The act, implemented on Monday, aims to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS.
The Bill was introduced in Parliament by the then UPA government in 2014. It was passed by Parliament and received Presidential assent in April 2017. The Act prohibits discrimination against people with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (PLHIV) in terms of accessing healthcare, education, employment, treatment, right to reside and workplace.
HIV AIDS Act 2017
According to the Act, no person can compel a person to disclose his/her HIV status for obtaining employment or services, except with their informed consent, and if required by a court order. Every establishment shall keep HIV-related information protected. HIV-positive person should take reasonable precautions to prevent the transmission of HIV to other people.
A person between the age of 12 and 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. This provision will be applicable in the matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, care, and treatment.
– The Act.
People are restricted from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them.
Role Of The Government
The HIV AIDS Act 2017 lays down certain guidelines for the Union and state governments. The government should work to prevent the spread of HIV or AIDS and provide anti-retroviral therapy and infection management for persons with HIV or AIDS. Anti-retroviral therapy and opportunistic infection management will also be applicable to all persons.
The Act has also introduced ‘test and treat’ policy under which if a person is tested HIV positive during testing, he/she will get free treatment by the state and central government.
It also makes it mandatory for the state government to appoint an Ombudsman to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act.
Punishment For Violation Of The Act
Notwithstanding any action that may be taken under any other law for the time being in force, whoever contravenes the provisions of section 4 shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to two years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both
India stands third in the population of people living with HIV which is estimated to be 21.17 lakhs.