The Bill, which aims to protect the rights of people infected and affected by HIV along with providing free and complete HIV related treatment to them, was finalized by the Health Ministry way back in 2006.
    
"HIV positive people face stigma and discrimination in our society and are often denied employment and refused treatment. There have been repeated instances of children of HIV positive people being thrown out of schools. This Bill is very important as it provides protection to them from discrimination in both public and private sector," said Hari Shankar from Delhi Network of Positive People.
    
"Although the government is providing first line treatment, second line is not reaching every HIV positiveperson who needs it. The third line treatment is not available through the government run programme. Also, important diagnostics like viral load tests are not provided free of cost to everyone," said Pradeep Dutta from Nai Umang Positive Welfare Society.
    
The Bill was finalized by the Health Ministry in July 2006, and in 2007 it was sent to the Law Ministry. For the next six years, the Bill has been shuttling between the Health Ministry and the Law Ministry.
    
In October this year, the Law Ministry cleared the Bill and sent it back to the Health Ministry, he said.

"Government should move fast now to ensure that the Bill is tabled in Parliament in the upcoming Winter Session," said Anjali Gopalan from Naz Foundation (India) Trust.

Anand Grover of the Lawyers Collective said that delay in bringing this Bill to the Parliament is totally unacceptable.

(Agencies)

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