Stop Stegmatizing People Living With HIV/AIDS— Expert Warn

By Agboje Shadrack
Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), in collaboration with National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA), has called for urgent action to implement discriminatory law against HIV/AIDS sufferers.

The call was made yesterday at a meeting organised on Twitter Space with the theme, ‘Nigeria HIV/AIDS Anti-discrimination Law, the Journey so Far’.

Dr Yinka Falola-Anoemuah, Deputy Director and lead gender, human right and care services, NACA, said the organisation has the capacity with its multi-sectorial platforms to address issues of stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV.

Falola-Anoemuah said the platforms include various institutions such as human right commission, law enforcement institutions, ministry of education, women affairs, among others.

Ms Kemi Gbadamosi, Director of Advocacy, Policy and Marketing, AHF-Africa, called on the Federal Government to enforce the HIV anti-discrimination law aimed at upholding the dignity and right of persons living with HIV.

She particularly called on the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and other stakeholders to rise to the occasion in ensuring laws are implemented and enforced, so that the rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS are protected.

Recall that in 2014, the Anti-discrimination law was enacted to end stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV and AIDS.

Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF-Africa, Mr. Steve Aborisade, said the law focuses on the rights of individuals, their responsibilities, institutional obligations and penalties for violations, adding that few organisations have been able to put in place HIV/AIDS work policy.

He said persons living with HIV have right to confidentiality, employment and welfare benefits.

Mr. Michael Okoh, Programme Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (NEPWHAN), said the Network, in 2021, conducted HIV stigma and discrimination survey with over 1,240 respondents from the general and key population.

Okoh said the survey was conducted in 16 states, including the Federal Capital Territory, where about one in four respondents said his status was disclosed without consent.

This, he said, caused the respondents several episodes of stigma and discrimination at work places and homes


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