by VR Sreeraman on  May 1, 2011 at 6:44 PM Indian Health News
 NGO Seeks Bill For Protection Of HIV Patients' Rights
A Hyderabad based NGO has demanded a parliamentary bill for the protection of the rights of HIV positive patients.

World Vision, which works with AIDS and HIV positive people, maintains it should be a legal requirement that such patients be treated humanely and brought into the mainstream.

World Vision Advocacy Director Reni Jacob put forward the demands on behalf of their patients, and appealed to the Central government to pass the HIV bill.

"Once the bill is passed, many of their issues will be solved, like their right to inheritance, their rights to work, better employment opportunities for them, confidentiality right, all those things will be protected if the bill is passed," Jacob said.

"Another issue which we are now fighting for is that government of India is again trying to sign an agreement with the European Union in which if we sign the agreement, the people's right to have access to drugs will be denied, try to access (the drugs) with low price will be denied, so we want to see that the government will not sign that agreement," he added.

He also said that there should be provision under Right to Food Act for free distribution of nutritious food to AIDS patients.

The bill should also address the discrimination faced by HIV positive children, the NGO said.

"We wants to work with World Vision and we want to do advocacy to the government people and to reduce the stigma and discrimination in these three components: education, nutrition and in treatment purpose, " said Swapna, an advocacy associate of World Vision.

India, with 2.5 million patients, is among the top three countries with the highest number of HIV cases, alongside South Africa and Nigeria.

More than 15 percent of the 200,000 plus Injectible Drug Users (IDUs) are HIV positive in the country against a global average of 10 percent.

In some areas, HIV positive cases among IDUs have been found to be as high as 50 percent, according to government health officials.

Source: ANI

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