UNAIDS welcomes India’s landmark HIV legislation
Bangkok, Thailand, 12/9/2018 – UNAIDS welcomes the entry into force of the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, India’s landmark HIV legislation on Monday 10 September. The law provides a broad legislative framework for the response to HIV in India and it is expected to create a supportive environment for people living with and affected by HIV.
Among its provisions, the legislation prohibits discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV in different settings, including employment, education, housing and health care, as well as regarding the holding of public or private office, access to insurance and freedom of movement. It also bans unfair treatment of people living with and affected by HIV in accessing public facilities, such as shops, restaurants, hotels, public entertainment venues, public facilities and burial grounds.
“By entering the Act into force, the Government of India has given all people living with or affected by HIV protection against discrimination and the promise of legal recourse. The Act will now help more people seek HIV testing, treatment and care services without fear of facing stigma and discrimination,” said Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.
The legislation contains provisions to increase access to justice for people affected by HIV, including obligations for health-care institutions to establish complaints mechanisms and a health ombudsman supported by special procedures to be followed in courts. The law also protects the rights of people affected by HIV to informed consent, to confidentiality and to a safe working environment, and promotes the delivery of critical harm reduction interventions. The draft law was presented to the Indian parliament in 2014 and passed in 2017.
“I hope this law and last week’s repeal of aspects of Section 377 of India’s Penal Code will set the trend for the region. UNAIDS would like to see other countries enact similar legislation and repeal laws which impede HIV response efforts in order to protect the rights of people living with or affected by HIV. We urgently need more people to know their HIV status and to seek prevention and treatment services. If countries are to achieve their targets to end AIDS as a public health threat, then we need an enabling legal environment throughout the Asia Pacific region,” emphasized UNAIDS Regional Director.
UNAIDS Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific | Michela Polesana | tel. +66 9445194092 | firstname.lastname@example.org
UNAIDS India | Bilali Camara | Country Director | CamaraB@unaids.org |
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at unaids.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.