Mumbai: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 positive people 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 those who are HIV infected in workplaces, educational institutions and treatment centres,” he said.
Ramadoss, who was speaking at the ‘HIV Congress 2008´ yesterday, 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 (NACP), which currently focuses 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 Treatment (ART) for short periods which reduced the reaction of patients to the drugs and raised the cost of treatment.
“Presently it costs the government Rs5,000 a year to provide HIV patients with treatment with the first line drugs but the second line drugs cost close to Rs 1 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.