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India to Set Up 'Health Ombudsman' to Check Anti-AIDS Discrimination

India Wednesday said it proposed to set up a health ombudsman to monitor discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS.//

Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Panabaka Lakshmi told the Lok Sabha in a written answer that the appointment of a "Health Ombud" will be part of a bill that government proposes to bring in parliament to prevent discrimination against people with the deadly disease.

The minister said the objective of the "HIV/AIDS Bill-2005" is to ensure right to disclosure of information on HIV status, access for testing, treatment and counseling, safe working environment and formulation of appropriate social security scheme.

She said the main mode of transmission of HIV in the country was through "sexual" mode. The National AIDS Control Organization is promoting the A,B,C strategy concept, "Abstinence, Be faithful and condom use" to check it.

Besides this, there is also a focus on "life skill education" to keep youth away from drugs and unsafe "behaviour practices".

There are an estimated 5.7 million HIV patients in India in 2005, according to various statistics.


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