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HIV hatred to invite fine and jail

New Delhi, Feb. 11 (PTI): Any person found guilty of spreading or propagating hatred against people with HIV/AIDS will face strict punishment of imprisonment up to two years and a maximum fine of Rs 1 lakh, according to a proposed legislation.

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2014, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha today by health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

The bill provides for protection against discrimination in employment, harassment of any kind, besides provision for medical treatment, confidentiality during treatment and privacy while being given HIV/AIDS-related services.

The bill also provides protection to such persons from being subjected to an HIV test without their informed consent.

“It is also important that existing establishments, both private and public, recognise the need to safeguard the rights of people infected with HIV/AIDS, particularly, women and children,” the bill’s statement of aims and objectives states.

The bill seeks to put in place an ombudsman to deal with such complaints, both at the state and central levels.

India has an estimated2.39 million people living with HIV/AIDS, the third highest after South Africa and Nigeria.