India: Supportive, protective HIV law introduced in the Rajya Sabha (upper house)

Bill to end HIV/AIDS discrimination introduced – A bill aiming to protect people with HIV/AIDS against discrimination was introduced in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday. The HIV/AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill 2014 was introduced in the upper house amid din.

The draft of the bill was finalised in 2006, and civil society groups and HIV/AIDS-affected people have long been demanding passage of the draft legislation. Under the proposed law, HIV/AIDS-affected people will be provided protection against discrimination in employment, healthcare, education, travel and insurance, in both public as well as private sectors.

The bill proposes imprisonment and fine for those spreading hatred and discrimination against HIV patients. According to official information, a fine up to Rs.10,000 and two years’ imprisonment has been proposed as punishment for spreading hatred against people with HIV/AIDS.

The bill also proposes a legal commitment to provide Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) by the government to the patients as far as possible.