As the number of global HIV/AIDS cases and deaths continues to drop year to year, the government of India has taken the role of accelerating these promising results, passing a bill focused on the prevention and control of the dreaded disease.
Approved and amended by the government’s cabinet on Oct. 5, 2016, the promising piece of legislation primarily addresses eliminating HIV- and AIDS-related discrimination throughout the country.
According to the officially-titled “HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill,” the denial or unfair treatment of people infected by HIV and AIDS with regard to employment, education, health care service, renting property and standing for public or private office is strictly prohibited.
This bill seeks to protect the rights of those directly affected with the disease by extending the freedom of choosing whether or not to disclose one’s HIV/AIDS status unless ordered by a court of law.
This right also spreads into the health care process by enhancing access to health care services through ensuring confidentiality and informed consent for HIV-related testing and treatment.
One of the most encouraging facts about the legislative measure is its lack of financial implications. Close to all the new established rights, freedoms and services declared in the bill have already been undertaken and integrated through helpful training and communication throughout India’s current systems of government.
From 2001 to 2012, the number of HIV infections was reduced by more than 50 percent in 26 countries, while 17 additional countries witnessed infections decline by between 25 and 49 percent. And India wasn’t absent.
According to The Gap Report of 2014, India too saw a 38 percent reduction in HIV infections among its citizens during this 12-year span. However, 2.1 million people were still newly infected in 2013 alone.
Looking to the future, the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Bill concludes with the ordering of both the Central and State governments of India to take immediate measures regarding the prevention and spread of the disease, the providing of anti-retroviral therapy and more.
Although cases of HIV/AIDS will continue to appear throughout the world, India undoubtedly took one step closer to eradicating the disease and eliminating needless judgment of others once and for all.
– Jordan J. Phelan