With the Lok Sabha's approval, Parliament April 11 passed the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, which provides for the prevention and control of the disease, and human rights protection for those affected by it.
Opposition members had several suggestions and observations during the Bill's passage, TMC member Ratna De Nag regretted that stigma related to HIV remains intense.
At the end of 2015, there were an estimated 2.1 million people living with HIV in India.
Under the new law, central and state governments are obliged to provide for anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and management of opportunistic infections (infections that take advantage of weakness in the immune system and occur frequently). It is the first national HIV law in South Asia.
Mr. Nadda said, "Whosoever does not adhere to the provisions of the Bill will be penalised".
The bill emphasizes that there will be no discrimination against persons infected with HIV on ground of treatment, employment and workplace.
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The Bill also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them.
He said the government had spent Rs. 2,000 crore on ART alone and this was a 100% Centrally sponsored scheme as the "government is committed to (treating every patient) and no one will be left out".
Nadda said the government has spent Rs 2000 crore on Anti Retroviral Therapy drugs for such patients previous year, while 22,000 testing facilities for HIV and AIDS are functional in the country.
The "historic" and "people centric" legislation will strengthen rights of people infected with HIV, Nadda said. "After exhaustive consultations in the Rajya Sabha, the Bill has come to the Lok Sabha", the minister said. These include the denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to employment, educational establishments, health care services, residing or renting property, among others.
The minister said that the Bill also seeks to create an enabling environment for HIV infected people. You can not be compelled to disclose your HIV status except with your informed consent (or in cases where required, by a court order). This ensures that those affected by HIV have the right to privacy and confidentiality.