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Sudan preparing draft law to end discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients

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April 2, 2015 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan is in the process of drafting a law to protect the rights of those living with HIV/AIDS and ensure that they receive medical and psychological care.

The bill, which is being drafted by legal experts, people living with HIV/AIDS, physicians and officials, will also criminalise the intentional transmission of the disease.

Sudan’s ministry of health revealed last December that there are 79,000 cases of AIDS in the country.

The draft law would state that people living with HIV/AIDS enjoy all the rights guaranteed by the constitution and international conventions ratified by Sudan.

It prohibits any form of discrimination based on HIV status that would lead to the degradation of their dignity or erosion of their rights or exploitation.

Furthermore, the draft bill gives the patients the right to housing, access to goods and services and prohibits subjecting any citizen to HIV check as a condition for employment or dismissing employees who contract the virus unless it is proven through a medical report that they are incapable of performing their job functions.

Even then, they will have the right to request being transferred to another job.

The law granted HIV/AIDS patients the right to request open-ended sick leave with full pay in case of health-related complications and to receive social security.

For children living with the virus, they would have the right of access to health care and medical counseling and cannot be dismissed or transferred from their schools.

The law also guarantees confidentiality of their information and ensures that it cannot be published in the media without the patient’s consent.

Court trials can be held in a closed setting if one of the parties involved has HIV/AIDS, the law says. It also dictates that HIV screening would be voluntary and confidential. It would also allow infected moms to retain custody of their children.

But the law also obliges patients to take the necessary steps including seeking medical help to prevent transmission of the virus to others. Failing to do so would be punishable by law.

Should an infected individual decide to marry they should notify their prospective spouse and comply with instructions that prevent transmitting the virus.

(ST)

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