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House nod for bill to grant equal rights to HIV, AIDS patients

House nod for bill to grant equal rights to HIV, AIDS patients
Parliament on Tuesday gave its nod to a crucial bill to ensure equal rights to the people affected by HIV and AIDS in getting treatment, admissions in educational institutions and jobs.

Terming the unanimous passage of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017 in the Lok Sabha as "historic", Health Minister J P Nadda said the government "stands committed for free treatment of HIV patients."

The bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on March 21.

Maintaining that the Bill was 'people centric', the minister said it strengthened the rights of the people infected with HIV. "It is not the case that before coming of this bill, these people (infected with HIV ) were not empowered. But with the passage of this bill they will get more powers," he said. The Bill lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.

Asserting that there would be no discrimination against persons infected with HIV, Nadda said "whosoever who does not adhere to the provisions of the bill will be penalised. There would also be civil and criminal proceedings against them."

Legal action, Nadda said, would be initiated against the persons for creating an environment against the HIV patients. "Action would be also taken against those who come between the implementation of the provisions of the proposed bill."
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