India has passed a “historic” law ensuring equal rights for people with HIV or AIDS.

The Parliament in New Delhi unanimously passed The HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, which outlaws discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS.

Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda called the legislation “historic,” adding that it showed the government “stands committed for free treatment of HIV patients.”

The legislation makes it so that informed consent is needed from patients before any tests, treatments or research are conducted.

It is also now illegal for patient’s HIV status to be revealed without their consent.

Children with the disease will have the right to live in a shared household, and enjoy the facilities of that household to the full.

The Health Minister pledged that “whosoever who does not adhere to the provisions of the bill will be penalised. There will also be civil and criminal proceedings against them.”

He added that there had been “a need to provide an environment to such people in which they feel protected.”

The minister also promised that the government would promote research into HIV and create aggressive strategies around counselling and testing, especially in high-risk areas.

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