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Local daily accused of violating HIV&AIDS Act

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Dimapur, January 27: The publication of the photo of an NGO visiting AIDS hospice for distribution of ration to mark the Republic Day in a local daily (not Nagaland Page) has caught the attention of an activist in the fight against HIV/AIDS, who says the publication has violated the HIV & AIDS Act 2017. The photo shows the NGO members with some children living with HIV.
“This publicity (sharing of PLHIV children photo) is liable for legal action as per HIV & AIDS Act 2017 under the disclosure of HIV status,” said Kripa Foundation Director, Abou Mere in a press release.
The penalty for this violation under section 39 “is punishable with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees unless such disclosure is pursuant to any order or direction of a court.” Also person who has committed violation must undergo a fixed period of counselling related to the violation committed and fixed period of social service.
In this context, Abou Mere appealed to all citizens to be cautious of sharing photos of PLHIV and to read and understands HIV&AIDS Act 2017.
Stating that it is imperative the State Government create awareness across the State on the HIV/AIDS Act 2017, Abou Mere said the State Government and NGOs much ensure greater synergy, work in partnership and make the people aware and understand about the Act and its rules.
No one should land in legal problem due to his or her ignorance of the Act, he opined.
Abou Mere also reminded that under section 49, the State Government need to appoint one or more Ombudsmen in consonance with HIV/AIDS Act 2017 to inquire into violations of the provisions of the Act. He drew the attention of the Government towards the importance and its obligation to appoint Ombudsmen, and establish strategies and action plans to prevent HIV and human right violation of PLHIV, especially those children who cannot voice or assert their rights on their own.
It may be mentioned that even the Press Council of India in its “Do’s and Don’ts” on HIV/AIDS has said, “Don’t identify children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS by name or through a photograph even with consent.” (Page News Service)

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