'New law to deter bias against HIV patients'
Health Minister says the Govt will bring in a new law in order to deter people from shunning persons infected with HIV virus.india Updated: Mar 23, 2008 13:19 IST
The Government will bring in a new law in order to deter people, particularly corporates, doctors and educationists, from shunning persons infected with HIV virus, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said.
"It is a worrisome factor when doctors turn away HIV patients or corporates turn away people because they are HIV positive. Another worrying factor is schools refusing admission to HIV positive children," he said.
"The government is bringing in a law and in the monsoon session we will move the bill for an Act to deter discrimination against HIV patients in workplaces, educational institutions and treatment centres," he said.
Ramadoss, who was speaking at the 'HIV Congress 2008' on Saturday, did not elaborate further on the law.
There are an estimated 2-3 million HIV patients in India as per a 2007 study by NACO.
The Health Minister said the National AIDS Control Programme, which currently focussed on data from states would refine the data in order to know the number of HIV patients per district to provide them better care.
Ramadoss also criticised doctors for the "irrational" use of powerful Anti Retroviral Treatement (ART) for short periods, which reduced the reaction of patients to the drugs and raised the cost of treatment.
"Presently it costs the government Rs 5,000 a year to provide HIV patients with treatment with the first line drugs but the second line drugs cost close to Rs one lakh per month," he said.
The Government has set up 147 treatment centres and is expected to treat three lakh patients free of cost in the next three years, he added.