Activists and persons living with HIV/AIDS on Monday demanded that members of Parliament spare time for the 2.5 million persons living with HIV/AIDS and their dependents, this February. They want the HIV/AIDS Bill to be tabled in the Parliamentary session next month.

Daisy David, advocacy officer, World Vision India, said that activists had spent five days in Delhi last month trying to convince MPs of the importance of the Bill, but it did not make it to Parliament.

“We want MPs to think of people in Nagaland with HIV/AIDS who are forced to rear pigs to make a living. When research shows that persons living with HIV/AIDS can live longer if provided with free treatment, why aren’t MPs supporting the Bill, which advocates provision of free treatment,” she asked at a press meet on Monday.

N. Surekha of the Lawyers Collective, explained that the Bill protected persons with HIV/AIDS from being discriminated against in the private and public sectors.

“There is discrimination everywhere in schools, hospitals, employment. The Bill had been listed for tabling in Parliament in December, but the session came to a close before that. If it is not tabled in February it will lapse,” she said.

C. Kumaravel of the Tiruvallur Positive People Network, said there were no facilities in the government sector for testing viral load and drug resistance. “There are only 54 centres across the country that offer second line treatment, and this is inadequate,” he said.

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