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Demand for Amending the HIV Bill


Kolkata, 4 March: Even as the HIV/AIDS Bill continues to be pending with the government, members of West Bengal's HIV-infected community gathered today called for amendments in the HIV/AIDS Bill which is presently in the Parliament.  As the lawmakers reconvene for the Monsoon session, it is expected that the long-pending, Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill 2014, which aims to protect the rights of people infected and affected by HIV, will be taken up. NGOs, people living with HIV/AIDS and members of the civil society working towards getting the Bill passed were speaking at a consultation organized by World Vision India at Shanti Niketan today. 

The main concern in the Bill raised by the community members was the absolving of responsibility from the government, when it comes to providing free and complete treatment to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV). In the HIV Bill's chapter on treatment, it currently says the government needs to provide treatment to HIV-positive people only 'as far as possible.' "This is unacceptable to PLHIV and we demand that the term 'as far as possible' be deleted from the chapter of treatment, in the present draft," said Tarit, President, West Bengal State network of HIV-positive people.

The HIV Bill provides for protection of HIV positive people from stigma and discrimination both in public and private sector, apart from treatment provisions. The process of the Bill was finalized by the government in 2006. Though it was sent to the Law Ministry in 2007, it was only in October 2013 that the Law Ministry cleared the Bill. On 5 December 2013, Bill was cleared by the Union Cabinet. The Bill, which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on February 11th, 2014, did not feature in the list of bills to be passed during the Budget session. The community pins their hopes on the parliament when it meets for the Monsoon session. "We intend to take this initiative forward, and urge the government to ensure that PLHIV are guaranteed medication and dignity," added Daisy David from World Vision India. 

For media queries, please contact: 

Teresa Sahaya, World Vision India
+91 9840232138; 
teresa_sahaya@wvi.org
 

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