High Court Seeks Government Response On Plea Alleging Lack Of Free HIV Medicines

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High Court Seeks Government Response On Plea Alleging Lack Of Free HIV Medicines

The petition said that while ART cannot cure HIV, it does protect the immune system which helps HIV patients to live longer and healthier lives and reduces the risk of sexual transmission of HIV.

New Delhi:  Delhi High Court on Friday sought responses from the Centre and city government on a PIL alleging that poor HIV patients have been denied right to free treatment as well as accessibility to and availability of essential medicines and tests.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath observed that the matter "required consideration" and directed the two governments to file their replies to the plea before the next date of hearing on March 2.

The petition has been filed by a social activist who has alleged the Centre had "failed to provide a package of care, support and treatment services under the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP)" to people afflicted with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

The petitioner, Rekha Devi, has alleged that centres to provide antiretroviral treatment (ART) were understaffed and did not have sufficient stock of antiretrovirals (ARVs), as patients were being given medicines for only 15 days at a time and asked to wait hours before the doctor see them at these centres.

The plea, filed through advocate Gangotri Hazarika Nath, also sought directions to the two governments and other authorities to fill up vacant posts of doctors and staff at ART centres and ensure a three-month buffer stock of ARVs at these centres at all times.

The petition said that while ART cannot cure HIV, it does protect the immune system which helps HIV patients to live longer and healthier lives and reduces the risk of sexual transmission of HIV.

It sought directions to the authorities to provide free and regular second and third line ARV treatment to registered people living with HIV (PLHIV) in ART centres as guaranteed by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), alleging that such treatment was not being provided.

The petitioner alleged that PLHIV are not able to access various social welfare schemes floated for their benefit due to requirements of Aadhaar card and sought the removal of this condition and simplifying the eligibility criteria.

Rekha Devi, in her plea, has also sought expediting of the procedure of making BPL and Antyodaya Anna Yojna cards for PLHIVs by removing the condition of proof of residence.

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