The Bill was finalised by the Health Ministry in July, 2006

Civil Society activists and members of networks of people living with HIV want the HIV/AIDS Bill tabled in the coming winter session of Parliament.

The Bill has been hanging fire since 2006. It is now with the Health Ministry.

People living with and associated with HIV faced stigma and discrimination on a regular basis. They were often denied employment and refused treatment and there were repeated instances of their children being thrown out of schools, said Hari Shankar of Delhi Network of Positive People. He was speaking at a press conference on the eve of World AIDS Day.

Explaining the need for this Bill, Pradeep Dutta from the Nai Umang Positive Welfare Society said: “Although the government is providing first line treatment, the second line is not reaching every HIV positive person who needs it. The third line treatment is not available through the government-run programme. Also, important diagnostics like viral load tests are not provided free of cost to everyone. The Bill is very important as it provides for complete HIV treatment by the state.”

In July 2006, the Bill was finalised by the Health Ministry and was sent to the Law Ministry a year later. For the next six years, it shuttled between the Health Ministry and the Law Ministry. Only recently, in October 2013, did the Law Ministry clear the Bill and send it back to the Health Ministry.

Anand Grover of the Lawyers Collective said, “The delay in bringing this Bill to Parliament is totally unacceptable. This government has not shown the political will to take this Bill forward. The Bill should have been tabled in Parliament long back. Even the Standing Committee on Health, in its report tabled in the Rajya Sabha in April 2013, has mentioned that the delay in bringing the HIV Bill to Parliament is not justifiable.”

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