The HIV AIDS Act 2017 came into force on 2018 September 10. The main aim is to prevent HIV and Aids in the country. It was introduced in 2014 by the senior congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. On March 22, 2017, the Rajya Sabha passed the bill. On April 12, 2017, it got assent from the Lok Sabha, and on April 20, 2017, it received the approval of the President.
India is the 3rd largest nation in the world, where the HIV-infected population is around 2,00,000. AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is caused by a series of infections caused by HIV( human immune virus). An infected person from the virus may only feel the symptoms, and this virus is not observable to the bare eye. This virus attacks your internal immune system disease like- tuberculosis, other infections, or rare tumours may infect you, which may result in extreme weight loss.
The principal cause of disease
The main reason for the spread of disease is unprotected sex, hypodermic needle, mother-child during delivery, breastfeeding, and contaminated blood transfusions.
Prevention has to be taken by the person. There are some ways by which you can prevent disease.
- Have safe sex
- Give proper treatment to an infected person
- Provide doctor’s prescribed antiviral medicine for both mother and child
We know that no vaccine exists for this disease, and medicine consumption increases the life duration, and life expectancy becomes less if not treated well. A person can live up to eleven years after being infected.
Situation in India
According to NACO, an estimated 2.31 million people in India were living with HIV/AIDS in 2007 (88.7% adults in 15-49 years, 7.5% aged 50 and above, and 3.5% children below 15 years). The general rate of HIV/AIDS in the country is 0.34%, and women account for 39% of the HIV burden in the country.
The prevalence of HIV is higher in eight states than the national average, and India has effectively reduced the epidemic’s overall prevalence.
The epidemic is moving from high-risk to general populations, from males to women, and from urban to rural locations, so there is no room for complacency.
HIV AIDS in employment
HIV/AIDS is a significant threat to employment, and the most productive subset of the labour force has seen the greatest impact.
In nations with high HIV prevalence rates, it has reduced the labour pool and worker income, harming business performance and the national economy.
HIV/AIDS affects fundamental rights at work, particularly concerning social ostracisation and harassment against employees and those impacted by or living with HIV/AIDS.
The threat of HIV to the Indian working population is evident, the fact that nearly 90% of the reported HIV infections are from the most proactive age group of 15-49 years. India has over 500 million population, and 93% are in the informal economy.
Unorganized sector labour is difficult to attain and is marked by low literacy, scant social protection benefits, challenging working circumstances, unhealthy company cultures, and constrained access to healthcare services.
Many people shift domestically and overseas for better employment/livelihood opportunities. Though not all migrant workers are at equal risk, the migration process enhances vulnerability to infections such as HIV, particularly those who are single, stay away from families for long durations, and work under challenging conditions.
The HIV AIDS (prevention and control) bill of 2014
The HIV aids ( prevention and control) bill, 2014 is a central legislation that protects and promotes the rights of the infected and affected person.
The HIV AIDS Act 2017 addresses disgrace and segregation and endeavours to create an empowering environment for improving access to service. It provides facilities like diagnostics for an infected person.
The Act got introduced when India was a signatory to the United Nations declaration of commitment on human immunodeficiency syndrome in 2001.
Before this Act, India had a national policy on HIV/AIDS in the context of the working world. However, the national policy neither imposes any obligation on employers nor grants any rights to an infected person.
The national policy was not proper as it only focused on AIDS prevention. The judiciary recognizes the need for a legal framework that provides both prevention and treatment.
Objective and scope of the Act
The Act’s main objective is to stop discrimination among people.
- To punish the people who are spreading this disease.
- To inform the general public about the awareness of the disease.
- To provide equal rights and opportunities for infected people.
- Prevention of HIV transmission
- Incorporate HIV into existing or soon-to-be-initiated workplace programs like training for the Human Resource Department, Welfare and OHS programs, Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, etc., to provide education and training at all levels in the workplace.
- Based on vulnerability analyses and risk assessments, set up interventions for migrant workers and those employed in the unorganized/informal sector.
- Enhance access to condoms, treatment of STIs, and universal precaution and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).
- Broaden the scope of social security coverage to include HIV in employee and family assistance programs, health insurance etc.
- Undertake vulnerable studies/epidemiological surveillance at the workplace to gather data/information.
Prohibition and discrimination against an HIV-positive person
HIV AIDS Act 2017 prohibits discrimination against an HIV-infected person and imposes a penalty on the person who discriminates:
- If an infected person is not treated well in their employment
- If an infected person is not permitted to reside in the shared household
- If a person is not treated well in health care service
- If unfair treatment to the residents and rented property.
- Handled unfairly at personal and professional levels.
- Unfairly in the provision of insurance.
Issue and challenges
Some issues revolve around the Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Some are as follows:
HIV and AIDS are subject to widespread discrimination and stigma. Because its impact is on a person’s mental health, much focus is on the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS.
The Act made it illegal and gave insurance rights for discrimination against infected people in public spaces, workplaces, and private residences. However, there was no change in the stigma’s decline.
The topic is HIV and AIDS, and people’s opinions in 2016 are no different from those in 2006. The general attitude of the populace has not altered even after ten years.
They continue to face discrimination everywhere they go. Women patients are not allowed to live with their kids, and most infected persons are not allowed to live together as a family. Typically, people believe that their pain was due to their fault.
Gender inequality is one of the most consequential difficulties with HIV and AIDS. The gender gap between men and women causes the most suffering for women. Their intimate partner is violent against them, and this violence may involve sexual violence.
In India, one in five women experiences sexual assault caused by men who do not use condoms, and women become more vulnerable to HIV because of this circumstance.
Even children are not exempt from the stigma associated with AIDS and HIV. Due to social pressure, parents of AIDS-positive children do not permit their children to receive a diagnosis.
One of the concerns with HIV and AIDS is data issues. The current situation calls for proper analysis, more effective access, and practical application of data.
We are falling behind in several areas, including poor database quality, a lack of organization, crucial population size estimations, and inept employees that cannot keep track of the epidemic.
- The availability of HIV-related products has also been lacking, including HIV testing kits, ARV distribution, and other HIV-related supplies.
Consent and disclosure of HIV status
- According to the charge, no HIV test, treatment, or investigation is done without a person’s informed permission.
- No person will force to tell his HIV status but, with his educated permission, and if court orders.
- Intellectual consent for an HIV test will not be required in case of screening by any authorized blood bank, a court arrangement, inquiry, and epidemiological purposes where the HIV test is mysterious and not implied to decide the HIV status of a person.
- Foundations keeping records of data of HIV-positive people should receive information security measures. Additionally forbidden is the requirement for an HIV test before receiving employment, medical attention, or education.
Benefits of the Act
- A person living with HIV has the authority to report discrimination in housing, health care, education, public services, property rights, holding public office, and insurance under this law.
- According to this law, Every HIV patient has the right to live in a shared home and utilize facilities that don’t discriminate.
- According to the law, “No person shall, by any utterance, whether spoken or written, print, distribute, promote, or communicate hatred toward any protected person or community of protected individuals by signs, visible representations, or otherwise.
- “Under the legislation, no person with HIV may receive treatment, have a procedure, or participate in research without the person’s informed consent. Furthermore, no pregnant HIV-positive woman may have sterilization or abortion without her permission.
Government’s role in ensuring the relief for HIV-infected people
By the HIV AIDS Act 2017, both the governments (central and state) shall take measures to:
- To prevent spreading of HIV or AIDS.
- To provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for persons with HIV or AIDS.
- HIV-affected people have facilities to access welfare schemes, especially for (women and children).
- To give HIV or AIDS education communication programs that are age applicable, gender-sensitive, and non-stigmatizing.
- To lay approaches for the care and treatment of children with HIV or AIDS.
- To provide HIV deterrence, testing, remedy, and guiding services for every person in the care and guardianship of the state.
Penalties for violation of the Act
- The central Act restricts discrimination against infected persons. The Act punishes the propagation of physical violence and hatred among them. If a person is doing such an act, the punishment will be three months to two-year imprisonment and one lakh rupees fine.
- According to Section 26 of the Act, if someone disobeys an ombudsman’s directives, they may be fined up to ten thousand rupees. And if the person doesn’t pay the amount, the fine of five thousand rupees per day until they do.
- A person violates the ombudsman’s order without testamentary guardianship. If the person reveals an infected person’s HIV status without that person’s consent or court order, they risk receiving a punishment of up to one lakh rupees.
- No person shall subject any other person or persons to any detriment because such person or persons have taken any of the following actions, namely:
- made a complaint under this Act;
- commenced legal action under this Act against any person;
- provided any documents or information to a person acting in any position authorized by this Act;
- It showed up as a witness in a case involving this Act. Offences under this Act shall be cognizable and bailable despite anything in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Hiv aids act 2017 lays down provisions for one very destructive disease. Once a person gets infected, his life gets tragic. Advertise well-being and insurance for a healthy life should be our focus.
Till now, there is no efficient remedy to deal with the disease, and the only cure is prevention for this disease. As a means of prevention, understanding should be there, and inexpensive medication should be available.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV enters the human body and destroys the immune system, like the ability to fight infections/diseases.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is an after-stage of HIV infection.
Do all people with HIV have AIDS?
No. Being discovered you have HIV does not automatically indicate you have AIDS.
Why is the HIV/ AIDS epidemic considered so serious?
HIV generally affects people at the most productive age, leading to premature death and severely affecting the socio-economic structure of whole families, communities, and countries.
Can HIV transfer through an insect bite?
No, Insects cannot transmit HIV. According to research, insects are not gracious hosts for HIV replication or survival. In the saliva of the mosquito, HIV cannot grow or survive.
What is Tuberculosis (TB)?
A bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the source of the infectious disease known as tuberculosis (TB).