India’s new law aims to end societal stigma of HIV/AIDS
India’s Parliament has passed a bill against the discrimination suffered by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients. The bill was proposed in 2014, and after numerous amendments, passed through the lower and upper parliaments of the Indian legislature this month.
Globally, India has the third-largest number of people suffering from HIV/AIDS behind South Africa and Nigeria. Moreover, India has the largest population in the Southeast Asia region suffering from HIV and AIDS. Due to the widespread socioeconomic stigmas prevalent within India, HIV/AIDS sufferers are a target of discrimination, leading to a lower quality of life for these people.
The bill outlines numerous positives for the general population, such as a policy outlining that any individual testing positive for HIV/AIDS will be entitled to free treatment by the government. According to the health minister, Jagat Prakash Nadda, the Indian government supports providing free treatment to HIV patients; as such, this ‘people-centric’ bill is a progressive move in the social landscape of India. The involvement of the government will lead to more investment within the healthcare sector and to increased accessibility for a multitude of resources for the population, including access to drug therapies, more research, and better testing.According to GlobalData, the HIV Point of Care Testing (POCT) market in India was $3.02M in 2016 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.5%. With the recent increase in awareness and the passage of the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Bill, the market is likely to increase as POCT takes a vital role within India.