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UNAIDS Hails Nigeria’s Signing Of HIV Anti-Discrimination Law



AHEAD of the World Zero Discrimination Day tomorrow, the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) has expressed full support of the Federal Government of Nigeria for her commitment towards ending stigma and discrimination against people living with and affected by Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV), even as the  world body hails President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Law.

      UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria and UNAIDS Focal Point for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr. Bilali Camara, in a press statement yesterday said: “I will like to thank the National Assembly for crafting the humanly sensitive bill, and President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the Anti-Discrimination law. This law is a big boost to improving Nigeria’s AIDS response, because it gives back human rights and dignity to people living with or affected by HIV,and ensures that the country ends the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”  

    According to the statement signed by National Information Officer United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Ikoyi, Lagos, Mr. Oluseyi Soremekun, the HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act 2014 makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on their HIV status. Among other issues, it also prohibits any employer, individual or organisation from requiring a person to take HIV test as a precondition for employment or access to services.

     The press statement read: “It is hoped that the new law will create a more supportive environment, allowing people living with and affected by HIV to carry on their lives as normally as possible in the society and the work places.

    “More than three million people are living with HIV in Nigeria, although the country has made great strides in its AIDS response in the past five years. The number of HIV infections in Nigeria declined by 35 per cent and the country is now pursuing efforts to stop new infections altogether. The number of sites providing services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV increased from 675 in 2010 to 5,622 in 2013.

“UNAIDS is working with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and other authorities to ensure that anyone living with HIV receives treatment, care and support services in dignity.”

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