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HIV bill to end discrimination sent back by Health Ministry

Dec 01, 2008 06:12 PM IST India India

New Delhi: It's World AIDS Day on Monday and while the world over people living witth HIV AIDS are fighting for their rights, the Indian government it seems has closed the doors of hope for them.

The Law Ministry has sent a draft bill to help patients battle discrimination back to the Health Ministry.

The bill was drafted four years back to help HIV patients and battle discrimination. But the Law Ministry has deleted some key chapters from the draft, which read as:

  • Strategies on risk reduction
  • Access to treatment, and
  • Prohibition of discrimination

The bill has been now sent back to the Health Ministry and the disappointment is evident among HIV patients.

"Our peurpose has been defeated as Law Ministry has not adressed us at all," said a dissapointed AIDS patient.

In place of the deleted chapters, the Law Ministry wants provisoins like:

  • Mandatory testing
  • Identification and tracing of HIV positive people

Measures the Health Ministry says will only lead to more discrimination.

"How can they overlook provisions like discrimination and treatment, it's really shocking the way Law Ministry has taken a look at the bill, they know nothing of HIV," said director lawyer's collective, Anand Grover.

The Law Ministry has refused to comment on the HIV bill but Health Minister Ramadoss is downcast. Last week his proposal to have pictorial warnings on tobacco products was deffered by the Group of Ministers.