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Stakeholders tackle workplace HIV discrimination


As part of efforts to protect the rights and dignity of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Network of Persons Living With HIV/AIDS (NEPHWAN) have launched a major effort to check workplace discrimination of HIV.

The stakeholders have pledged to work together to fight for the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and ensure that they are no longer subjected to rejection and discrimination.

As part of efforts in this regard, NACA and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) yesterday launched an easier to read and understand version of Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act 2014.

Officials say the plan is to offer more persons a chance to understand and utilize the provisions of the law.

Director General of NACA, Prof. John Idoko, who spoke at the unveiling of the popular versions of the Act in Abuja, noted that, among other things, the effort would result in increased demand for testing services and improve the quality of life for people living with HIV in Nigeria.

He said: “Stigma and discrimination constitute a big obstacle to our plans to eradicate HIV. I want to commend all of us who worked together to pass this into law in the year 2014. But for most of us, we have not taken a deeper study of the law. That is why it needs to be broken down to simple language that we can all understand.”

Country Program Manager of AHF, Adebayo Towolawi, stressed the need for greater orientation to better empower people living with HIV and reduce workplace discrimination and stigmatization in the society.

These people living with HIV/AIDS have suffered hostility, denial of access to treatment, employment, and even those in employment suffer forced resignation, denied access to education, participation in society, marital discrimination and even job creation.

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