HIV in India has always been treated as a taboo, a social stigma. People infected with and affected by HIV face widespread discrimination in different spheres of life. Due to lack of knowledge on the ailment, they are often denied jobs and refused medical treatment. Children, with HIV positive parents, are often refused education, thinking it to be a contagious problem.
To fight the stigma allied with HIV/AIDS, which is a barrier for a dignified living, govt had finalised a Bill in 2006 but it is yet to be passed. The proposed Bill aims to protect people from discrimination, both in the public and workplaces. However, it’s been five long years since the Bill was first finalised, and is still waiting to be introduced in Parliament.
Several NGOs joined hand for HIV/AIDS Bill and rallied together towards the Vigyan Bhavan, Delhi on July 4 where the Prime Minister addressed a two-day national convention of Zilla Parishad chairpersons and Mayors on HIV/AIDS, organised by the Forum of Parliamentarians on HIV/AIDS. The protesters said that the present Bill protects only those in the public sector. The private sector should also be brought under the domain of the Bill.
Initially drafted in 2006, the Bill was finally cleared by the Law Ministry in 2010. Since then it is pending with the Health Ministry. Activists demanding for urgent steps concerning the Bill say they are unable to understand the reasons behind the delay in passing the Bill.