Staff Correspondent

It seeks to prohibit discrimination against an infected person

Bill has been prepared after discussions with NGOS, social workers It prohibits hate and discriminatory propaganda and victimisation Bill calls for constitution of a Health Ombudsman to deal with the complaints

DHARWAD: "There are 5.13 million HIV-positive persons in India and there is a dire need for a legislation to regulate the problems arising out of HIV/AIDS infection," Anand Grover, senior advocate and project director of "Lawyers' Collective HIV/ AIDS unit" has said.

He was speaking at a workshop on "HIV/ AIDS Bill-2005," organised by the Lawyers' Collective unit and the University College of Law, Dharwad, here on Saturday.

Mr. Grover said the bill has been prepared after working on the issue for three years and holding more than 25 consultative meetings with a cross section of society representing the stakeholders, activists, social workers and non-governmental organisations.

He underscored the need for an integrated approach towards the problem rather than having an isolationist approach. The isolationist approach has a tendency of driving the disease underground apart from being discriminatory and violative of fundamental rights of the affected individuals, he said.

He said the bill seeks to prohibit discrimination against an infected person by the state or any person in relation in the sphere of employment, healthcare, occupation, educational services, access and enjoyment of goods, facilities and services including shops, restaurants and so on. It prohibits hate and discriminatory propaganda and victimisation. There are elaborative provisions in the bill relating to informed consent with regard to majors and proxy consent in case of minors in relation to HIV-related tests, he said.

Mr. Grover said the unique feature of the bill is the constitution of a Health Ombudsman to deal with the complaints and HIV/AIDS Authority. He appealed to the participants to send their suggestions to be incorporated in the Bill.

Presiding over the function, K.R. Aithal, Dean, Faculty of Law, Karnatak University, appreciated by the efforts made by the Lawyers Collective in this regard.

C.S. Patil, Principal of the college, welcomed the gathering.

Ramesh, coordinator, proposed a vote of thanks. Advocates, doctors, social activists, academicians, representatives of non-governmental organisations and women's organisations participated in the workshop.

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