Combating HIV/AIDS: NA panel to discuss draft bill today

Aims to strengthen screening and treatment facilities for HIV/AIDS patients and end associated stigma


Our Correspondent January 22, 2015
Currently, 1,964 HIV positive patients are registered with Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD:


The first ever draft HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment bill for the capital will be presented before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Health today (Thursday) for approval.


The proposed HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment, Care and Support bill will be implemented in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). The law had been under-consideration since April last year.

The proposed law is aimed at strengthening screening and treatment facilities for HIV and AIDS patients and to end the stigma associated with the disease, said National Aids Control Programme Manager Dr Baseer Achakzai.

“Some health practitioners consider an HIV patient untouchable,” he said.

Currently, 1,964 HIV positive patients are registered with Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims). They also include patients from other parts of the country. Of them, 1,100 are under treatment at the hospital. The bill was proposed by two parliamentarians as a private bill and was later referred to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC) for detailed review.

Achakzai said that the proposed law has been examined through three rounds of consultations with technical experts from UN agencies and members of civil society.

“This bill will also set a precedent for provinces to come up with similar laws,” he said.

The law covers treatment, care, and support, as well as legal aspects and community perspective, in order to provide an enabling environment for HIV-affected people.

“No one should suffer and die because of inequality, ignorance, intolerance and indifference,” Achakzai added.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2015.

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