New Delhi: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced the implementation of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017. The new law came into effect on Monday, September 10. Only last month, the Delhi High Court had asked the Centre why it had not yet notified the law to prevent discrimination against HIV and AIDS patients despite the Presidential assent last year. (Also read: HC Seeks to Know if AIDS/HIV Patients Get Insurance Cover)
The Act that was passed by Parliament on April 11 and got the Presidential nod on April 20, 2017, provides for the prevention and control of the disease and protection of human rights of those affected by it. It also prohibits any kind of discrimination against anyone on the ground of treatment, employment and workplace.
In August, hearing a PIL that sought immediate notification of the law, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice C Hari Shankar had issued a notice to the Ministry of Health and the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) seeking their reply and had noted, “You make a law and are not notifying it. Why?” The court had then listed the matter for hearing on November 26.
The petitioner, a Delhi University student, had claimed that due to delay in notifying the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017, the rights guaranteed to people living with HIV (PLHIV) under the statute were being curtailed.
According to the law, every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 has the right to live in a shared household and enjoy its facilities. It also prohibits an individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against them and those living with them.
The Act also provides for guardianship for minors. A person between the age of 12 and 18 years with the maturity to handle the affairs of his HIV- or AIDS-affected family would be considered competent enough to be the guardian of a younger sibling. This provision will be applicable in the matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts and managing a property.