Landmark meeting for National HIV/AIDS Bill in India

New Delhi, 15 February 2008. The HIV/AIDS Bill was discussed in a landmark national meeting with PLHA network leaders from various states in India, representatives from major funding agencies, human rights organizations, NGOs and the drafter of the bill, the Lawyers Collective. Sri J.D. Seelam, Honorable Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) attended a session of the meeting.


The Bill which provides legal standing for initiatives that help prevent discrimination and guarantee protection for the rights of individuals in relation to HIV/AIDS was to have been scheduled in the 2007 Budget Session but this has been delayed.

It is now to be supported by a signature campaign by Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS (INP+) to urge the Indian government to continue its efforts in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic on behalf of all citizens. Submission of the signatures collected will be made to the Honorable Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on 18th February 2008.

Developed over a three-year period in consultation with major stakeholders in HIV/AIDS in India such as persons living with HIV/AIDS, vulnerable communities, health care workers, NGOs, employers and workers, and government officials – the HIV/AIDS Bill covers Prohibition of Discrimination; Informed Consent; Disclosure of Information; Access to Testing, Treatment and Counselling; Safe Working Environment; Promotion of Strategies for Reduction of Risk, Social Security; Information, Education and Communication; the Appointment of a Health Ombud, amongst others.

Anand Grover of Lawyers Collective says that ‘the Bill aims to make HIV-positive person not the object in health intervention but the subject.’ K.K. Abraham, President, INP+ emphasised the importance of getting the bill passed in the parliament as ‘the Bill is important and essential for PLHA and other vulnerable groups to make them ensured of their rights.’ Denis Broun, Country Director, UNAIDS, India adds that ‘The HIV/AIDS Bill aims to empower people to protect themselves and others from HIV/AIDS.’

Sri J.D. Seelam advised that there is a need for effective follow-up to get the Bill passes in parliament.

Domestic NGO bodies and funding representatives present at the consultation include Family Health International (FHI-India), International HIV/AIDS Alliance in India, UNIFEM, UNAIDS, Care-India, World Bank, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), Center for Advocacy and Research (CFAR) and the DFID-India. Communities and NGOs attending the meeting have pledged to facilitate the passing of the Bill.

The HIV/AIDS Bill and consultation have been facilitated by the Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS (INP+), a national network with more than 160 district level networks and 22 state level networks in India. INP+ is the designated partner of the Asia Pacific Council of AIDS Service Organizations (APCASO), a network of non-government and community-based organizations in the Asia-Pacific region which has been tasked by International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) to manage and implement regional initiatives that scale up HIV prevention alongside treatment access in Asia.

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