Walking With AIDS:Aiding the Unaided

The governments must ease the life of the people suffering from AIDS, says the Delhi HC.

The one of the most dreaded and incurable diseases that the mankind faces today is AIDS. Despite so much of publicity about AIDS, the 5% of the Indian society is affected by AIDS (study by NIMHANS, 2014).

The disease is spread in humans through mosquito bites, blood infusion, use of infected blades, and unprotected intercourse. The causes, whatever they may be the disease comes with a social stigma that causes a the person affected to live a life in lurch.

The people who are known to be suffering from AIDS have been subjected to termination from their jobs, not only in the private sector but even in the public sector. The frequent occasions and ostracization that follow the disease, led the Supreme Court to rule that the doctors, or the paramedics to not to disclose the identity of the persons suffering from AIDS. The law even made efforts to curb the social ostracization, which even amounted to economic losses, in the form of loss of employment.

The Supreme Court took the view that the disease being without any cure, and the person expecting death in all the cases, must be dealt with in a humane manner, by not only the State bu the society as well. The people who were subjected to treatment like outcastes, were taken care of by the Parliament in the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017, which came into force last year in April.

The act aims to ensure prevention of the disease as well as ensure that the human rights of the persons affected with the disease are not transgressed.

Thus, there is also a mechanism in place to provide people suffering from AIDS on the government support. The disease has no cure, but if detected at an early stage, the virus may be kept under control and the disease may not create havoc in the lives of the patients.

The annual average wages for a person who suffers from AIDS in our times, annually, must be somewhere around INR 1.80 lacs, which only includes the amount of sustenance and medicines.

While the people who suffer from AIDS, are burdened with meeting the familial expenses as well, there exists a mechanism in various states to put them on government support.

Today, a bench of acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Gita Mittal while hearing a PIL filed by an AIDS patient, remarked that the support that the Delhi Government provides to these needy people is even less than Rs 100/- a day, which is Rs 1000/- per month. The Court even said that the Delhi government can provide free water and electricity when it is cash strapped, but cannot provide humanitarian assistance in the form of minimum wages to these needy people.

The issue delves deeper as the governments all over have not tried to subsidise the medicines needed to keep the virus in check, be made available to people easily, as they remain highly priced.

The state support has to be multifold, as they will have to provide medicines at an affordable price, while they  ensure a payment of minimum wages to the patients who find it tough to find employment due to their failing health.

The lives of those walking with AIDS must be aided, while the ones with aids to support their needs, must not be aided at the cost of those in need.

The move of the HC is a right step at enabling beneficial treatment towards the patients of AIDS.


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