India’s Health and Family Welfare Ministry has advised Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (Irda) to make both life and health insurance cover available for people affected by HIV/AIDS.

The ministry’s Department of AIDS Control (DAC) has asked Irda to modify its recent draft circular n life insurance coverage for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA).

According to the department, the draft circular only outlines the policies by life insurance companies, and excludes general insurance companies, which offer majority of health insurance products.

DAC also proposed to Irda to remove the standard two-year waiting period of two years for PLHA if the CD4 count, a measure of cells that fight the infection, is higher than a particular cut-off.

DAC additional secretary Aradhana Johri said that once a person reaches a CD4 count of 350 or more and is taking antiretroviral therapy, then there is negligible chance that CD4 count will decrease.

"The two-year waiting period is too prohibitive for people living with HIV," Johri noted.