The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a notification for bringing the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 in force from 10th September, 2018. The Act, safeguards the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. The provisions of the Act address HIV-related discrimination, strengthen the existing programme by bringing in legal accountability, and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances.
The Act seeks to prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS, prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS. The Act 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: (i) employment, (ii) educational establishments, (iii) health care services, (iv) residing or renting property, (v) standing for public or private office, and (vi) provision of insurance (unless based on actuarial studies). The requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited.
Every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household. The Act also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them. As per provisions of the Act, a person between the age of 12 to 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 to be applicable in the matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, care and treatment, amongst others. As per the provisions of the Act, every person in the care and custody of the state shall have right to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and counseling services.