Hemant Singh, a worker in a city hospital felt harassed when a hospital allegedly refused treatment when he was diagnosed with dengue and chikungunya, only because of his HIV positive status.
10-year-old Raman Arya studying in a government schools allegedly faces discrimination from his teachers and administration just because he is HIV positive. 32-year-old Munni Devi, an HIV positive patient working in a beauty parlour, had to run from pillar to post in three hospitals when she went for her first delivery recently.
UNION CABINET APPROVES AMENDMENTS
Life of many such HIV positive patients will soon improve as the Union Cabinet on Wednesday has approved amendments to ‘The HIV and AIDS Bill, 2014’ drafted to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. The Bill lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited. These include the denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to employment, educational establishments, healthcare services, residing or renting property, standing for public or private office, and provision of insurance (unless based on actuarial studies).
The requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing healthcare or education is also prohibited, an official statement said after the Cabinet meeting. As of now, Hemant Singh’s all test reports clearly mention that he is HIV positive.
WHAT RELIEF DO THESE AMENDMENTS BRING?
As per the Bill, from now onwards, no person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order. Establishments keeping records of information of HIV positive persons shall adopt data protection measures.
The government has made anti retroviral therapy (ART)-the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection-a legal right of all HIV positive patients.
“The Bill makes it mandatory for state and the central governments to provide ART as far as possible. This Bill seeks to address the issue of stigmatisation towards AIDS/HIV positive cases and the discrimination meted out to them. The second motive is to give such persons an enabling environment so that just like any other citizens they can work and have the right to every facility,” said Union Health Minister, JP Nadda.
“As far as punitive and preventive measures are concerned, the Bill seeks to ensure that no environment of hatred or discrimination is disseminated in the society… Every organisation which has got 100 people working under it must have a complaint officer who will look into the grievances. Health institutions, where there are even 20 people, will also have to keep a complaint officer. The punishment under this have been proposed at a minimum of three months to a maximum of up to two years of imprisonment, and a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh,” he added.
Source: India Today