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Protestors press for getting HIV/AIDS Bill passed

Nov 23, 2011 10:02 AM IST India India

New Delhi: Civil Society groups working with HIV/AIDS patients have been demanding that the HIV Bill should be taken up in the winter session of Parliament. The bill has been waiting approval by the Union Health Ministry for more than 5 years now.

Even as politics held the first day of the winter session hostage, not far from Parliament, on Monday, protestors gathered over a long-pending bill to deal with HIV/AIDS.

More than 200 people from across the country gathered with a single point agenda - to get the HIV bill, that has been in limbo since 2006, passed. After more than 5 years of delay, they feel that they have no option but to take to the streets.

The draft HIV/AIDS Bill was first presented to the Health Ministry in 2006 after which it was sent to the Law Ministry for approval. The Law Minstry approved a draft in March 2010 and sent it back to the Health Ministry.

Raman Chawla of the Lawyers Collective said, "We met the minister and the minister said the bill has gone to the Law Ministry. We have demanded that a copy of the draft should be shown to us, which the minister has refused. Another question is why has it been sent to the law ministry? It was with the law ministry for 2.5 years."

Some key demands of the HIV/AIDS Bill draft include an anti-discrimination law, free diagnosis and treatment.

With 2.3 million Indians living with HIV/AIDS according to the latest UNAIDS report, the numbers may be decreasing, but it's the quality of life that they are fighting for.