What to do when you are HIV Positive. Life After HIV!

Life After HIV

What are my legal rights at work and in social context if I am HIV positive?

As an HIV positive person, your rights as a citizen are protected under the Constitution of India. You can also read about the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017 which was introduced to help strengthen the rights of the people who have been suffering from HIV or AIDS. Four important rights you should know about include:

  • Right to Treatment: A person suffering from any ailment has the right to get treatment for his suffering. Information and treatment cannot be denied to a patient because of her/his HIV/AIDS status. If any HIV/AIDS patient is denied treatment, it amounts to discrimination. The Government of India provides free treatment of HIV. You can visit your nearest ART centre and collect free Medicine from there.
  • Right to Informed Consent: HIV Testing requires specific and informed consent of the person being tested for the test results to be used for any research and information sharing.
  • Right to Confidentiality: A person has the right to keep information on their HIV status confidential.
  • Right against Discrimination: A person has the right to be treated equally as any other citizen of the country as per the fundamental rights covered under law and constitution.

Will me being positive affect my educational/career opportunities?

The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017 prohibits discrimination in jobs and education for those living with HIV. Any denial/termination/discontinuation or unfair treatment of HIV positive people in jobs, education, healthcare is prohibited. Right against discrimination is a fundamental right enjoyed by all citizens of India. “No person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order,” the bill clarified.

Do I have to tell my employer about my HIV status?

If you are HIV positive, you have the Right to Control the Disclosure of your HIV status, especially in workplace and educational institutions. The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017 was passed in the Lok Sabha on 11th April 2017. The bill was introduced to help strengthen the rights of the people who have been suffering from HIV or AIDS. Here are certain rights that an HIV positive person must know about, when living in India:

  • The bill lists that denial or discontinuation of employment, education, healthcare services, renting or residing property, standing for public or private office will count as discrimination along with unfair treatment in any of the above-mentioned categories. It also prohibits HIV testing being used as a pre-requisite for securing a job, accessing health care or education.
  • The Bill proposes that a person cannot be forced to take an HIV test without their consent. The informed consent of a person before taking such a test is mandatory after proper counselling and imparting of knowledge about the test.
  • It also has a provision under which no person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required, only by a court order.

With these provisions in place to protect your rights as an HIV positive person, you can choose to disclose or not disclose your HIV status. You can also look through the company policy around employment of people with HIV or chronic diseases, and for determining if the company or the employer would provide a suitable workplace for you or not.