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Bill to protect HIV community from bias gets approval (Relevant for GS Prelims and Mains Paper II)

Cabinet approved HIV Bill 
The Union Cabinet, approved the long-awaited amendments to the HIV Bill, granting stronger protection to the country’s HIV community.

About HIV Bill
The Bill prohibits discrimination against people living with HIV (PLHIV) in accessing healthcare, acquiring jobs, renting houses or in education institutions in the public and private sectors.

1. The Bill 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:
a.    employment 
b.    educational institutions
c.    health care services 
d.    residing or renting property
e.    standing for public or private office 
f.     provision of insurance.

Further, requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited.

2. Establishments keeping records of information of PLHIV have been asked to adopt data protection measures as the Bill requires that “no person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order.”

Statistics
There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India and the percentage of patients receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment currently stands at a mere 25.82% as against the global percentage of 41%, according to the 2015 Global Burden of Diseases (GBD).

Further proposals with regard to the bill 
There is also a need to address the inadequate funding, the procurement system that is resulting in drug shortages and the lack of clarity in the HIV policy. 

There is also a proposal that every HIV infected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household.



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