Year after year stories of people living with HIV (PLHIV) being discriminated, tortured and going through unspoken sufferings had surfaced and documented by many including social activists, NGOs and media. In 2006, their hard struggle and cries of many PLHIVs were recorded in the consultations and finalisation of an important bill yet to be passed, the ‘HIV pending bill'. The fight to make it pass in the parliament has been tougher since than generating the reasons to formulate it. There has been a step forward in the year 2006 when it was agreed that HIV and AIDS has long gone past being a medical problem and is now an issue that cuts across social, economic, psychological, medical, and human rights parameters and needs to be addressed at a war footing.
On December 01, yet again World Vision India reinforces along with communities and PLHIVs to not only observe World AIDS Day, but amplify our voices to urge national leaders to ‘Walk Together' with PLHIVs and pass the HIV Bill that will protect their rights. It is time we respect and give proper direction to the Bill that was drafted after nation-wide consultations with different stake holders including PLHIVs, communities at risk of HIV, healthcare workers, children's organizations, women's groups, trade unions, lawyers, and State AIDS Control Societies.
Stating the urgency of the need for the Bill, Dr. Jayakumar Christian, National Director, World Vision India said, "Statistics don't bleed, but people bleed. In our work with around 40,000 children affected by HIV and AIDS across the country, we have seen them and their families denied their right to dignified life and treatment because of the stigma attached to the disease. A legal protection would go a long way in ensuring that these children are able to access their rights".
World Vision India along with partners have been conducting grassroots level consultations as well as state level forum to discuss the bill and create empowered voices for community based solutions and work towards Zero discrimination towards PLHIVs. "The passing of the long pending HIV and AIDS bill in its original form will contribute to reducing the epidemic and will also protect the rights of people living with HIV, including children affected and infected. The PLHIVs in this country are not legally protected which means we do not have a legislation/Act passed yet to protect their rights. The greatest need of the day is to pass the bill incorporating all the provisions necessary for the protection of their rights." Mr. Reni Jacob, Advocacy Director, World Vision India, further added.
Let's Walk Together
WThis December 1, 2013 on World Aids Day, Let's take a walk together and meet Daisy David, the first woman in India to raise her voice for free distribution of ART, Anti-Retroviral Therapy.