The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced the implementation of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Act, 2017 starting September 10, 2018.
Passed on April 20, 2017, the Act prohibits discrimination against people with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (PLHIV) in terms of treatment, employment and workplace.
The Act also says that no person shall be compelled to disclose his/her HIV status for obtaining employment or services, except with their informed consent, and if required by a court order.
The Central Government will also issue necessary guidelines with respect to protocols for HIV and AIDS-related diagnostic facilities. Anti-retroviral Therapy and Opportunistic Infection Management will also be applicable to all persons.
An ombudsman will also be appointed by each state government to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act and the provision of health care services.
As per the Act, 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 discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) could also lead to imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh.
“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” the act lays down.