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Kolkata high court faced denial and discrimination for Reproductive health rights of people living with HIV

Date : 16/07/2010

Writ Petition: X v. Union of India & Otherse -writ petition filed in Kolkata high court faced denial and discrimination for Reproductive health rights of people living with HIV

Despite a strengthening of the legal rights of HIV positive individuals in India in recent years, many of those living with the virus still find themselves the targets of discriminatory practices. This petition is filed on behalf of two individuals whose reproductive and health rights including rights to confidentiality and against mandatory HIV testing have been breached by private and state health authorities.

Upon admission to Suraksha nursing home, a private hospital, when she went into labour, Mrs. X and her husband were both asked for blood tests. Requests by the petitioner to be given the reason for the test were ignored; he was told his wife would not be allowed to deliver in the hospital if they did not submit to the test. Shortly thereafter Mr. X and his wife were informed that they were HIV positive. The hospital refused to allow Mrs. X to give birth on the premises and tried to force her to leave. Mrs. X’s labour however was too advanced; she could not be moved and gave birth in the hospital. The hospital then refused to give her or her newborn baby, who was also tested for HIV without consent of the parents, appropriate treatment following the birth. Mr. and Mrs. X’s HIV status was then disclosed to Mrs. X’s family, also without consent.

The Petitioner and his wife then visited the Medinipur government-run hospital where it was confirmed that Mrs. X had developed an infection, as she had not received necessary antenatal care. In spite of this admission, the Medinipur hospital also failed to provide Mrs. X with the treatment she required.
The Respondent authorities, including the National Minister of Health, the State of West Bengal, Medinipur Hospital and Suraksha private nursing home, have breached the Petitioner and his wife’s fundamental right to life, including the right to human dignity, rights to access reproductive health services and privacy, pursuant to Article 21 of the Constitution. The Respondents have also violated National Aids Control Organization guidelines with regards to treatment and testing of individuals with HIV/AIDS as well as numerous international legal norms and human rights.

This petition is pending before the Kolkata High Court in the hopes of procuring appropriate medical treatment and compensation for the Petitioner, his wife and their child as well as appropriate disciplinary action against the Suraksha private nursing home and Medinipur Hospital.

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