Posted in Legislative Research on May 13, 2020
This bill was posted on the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw website on 23.03.2020 and described in the state-run newspapers Myanmar Alin and The Mirror on 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th of March, requesting input from the public.
Current Status (13.05.2020) – awaiting submission to Hluttaw for debate
According to the UNAIDS, it was estimated in 2018 that there were 240,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV), and 7,800 HIV-related deaths.
The Myanmar government has been implementing measures against the spread of HIV, alongside Tuberculosis and Malaria, as a priority since the early 1990s. Until 2017, there were 174 ART (Antiretroviral treatment) centres under the National AIDS Programme led by the Ministry of Health and Sports (MoHS) and supported by its partners. There were a further 172 ‘decentralised’ ART centres around the country served by the public sector. From 2012, financial support from international and private organisations has been increasing, as has the state budget allocation.
In 2017, 66 per cent of PLHIV (146,826 people) have been given antiretroviral treatment, three times the number in 2011. Consequently, the death rate of PLHIV fell by an estimated 49 per cent since 2010.
Government policy has been driven by the National Strategic Plans on HIV/AIDS, which have been in place since 2006. The current plan is the National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS, Myanmar: 2016-2020.
Once the current bill is approved, it will become the first law passed in Myanmar concerned specifically with HIV/AIDS.
(2) Bill Summary
The bill includes provisions relating to the formation of a committee, the duties and rights of PLHIV, the rights of their families and other people considered more at risk from infection. It also covers the disclosure of information, testing and various prohibitions.
- Its objectives are:
- to provide healthcare to PLHIV
- to ensure effective prevention of disease
- to ensure the right to education and work
- to involve the public, along with PLHIV, in combatting the disease
- The Union Government will form a National Committee for the HIV Prevention, People Living with HIV and Their Family, led by the Union Minister for the Health and Sports along with officers from the relevant departments, and four representatives from community-based organisations.
- Its duties are to formulate policy to implement the law’s objectives, to encourage local production of drugs for ART, to work on principles of public health and human rights in improving disease prevention and healthcare provision, and to empower relevant officers including the police and prison staff. Moreover, it will form sub-committees as required, and submit annual reports to the Union Government.
- PLHIV have a duty to accept counseling, to follow measures to mitigate the risk of disease transmission, and to cooperate in disease prevention and healthcare service. They also have the right to access services for disease prevention and drugs to treat HIV-related conditions, and the right to keep their infection status private.
- The rights of families of PLHIV, and other most at risk of infection, are also determined. Those in jail and prison have the right to access healthcare services, and the law prescribes how this is to provided.
- The healthcare provider can disclose the results of a disease examination to the tested person and the person who agrees to allow testing. Disclosure of disease-related information to other healthcare provider is also permitted under certain conditions, provided the PLHIV is informed first. Moreover, the partner of a PLHIV can be informed, in specific situations, and where they have been given information and education about the disease beforehand.
- Depending on the age limit and particular circumstances, the participation and rejection for research project and healthcare service are also determined in the law.
- Under the Bill, PLHIV, their families and people most at risk of infection from HIV, cannot have their access to healthcare denied or limited. They also cannot be sacked from their work, forced to transfer, or denied promotion or legal benefits or treated separately in any way. Equal treatment is also to apply to matters relating to education, childcare, jail, prison, and the community. If violated, complaints can be made to the township-level committee and the appeals can go to the National Committee. If there is any failure to comply with administrative penalties, cases must be transferred to the relevant government organisation.
- The bill includes offences and penalties, and the establishment of a fund. Notwithstanding the provisions in other laws, matters relating to this law’s provisions will be executed by this law.
The Prisons Act (1894)
The Penal Code
The Suppression of Prostitution Act, 1949
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law (1993)
The Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases Law (1995)
The Blood and Blood Products Law (2003)
The Child Rights Law (2019)
Moe Aung, The Ananda, email@example.com