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Stigmatisation: HIV group seeks passage of bill

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The Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria has called on the National Assembly to expedite the passage of the Anti-stigma and Discrimination Bill into law.

The National Coordinator of NEPWHAN, Mr. Edward Ogenyi, disclosed this in Abuja at the national dissemination and launch of the report of five research studies which it conducted in 2009 and 2010.

The studies, which were evidence-gathering and fact-finding exercises, were inaugurated by the Director of Coordination and Partnership at the National Agency for the Control of HIV/ AIDS, Hajia Maimuna Yahaya, on behalf of the Director-General of NACA, Prof. John Idoko.

Ogenyi said, “One of the findings in the studies is that HIV/AIDS discrimination in Nigeria is still high, especially within health facilities. We discover that HIV/AIDS victims also experience one form of discrimination or the other within their work environment.

“We still discover that with this trend, there will be need for the National Assembly to quickly pass the Anti-stigma and Discrimination Bill into law, and if passed, employers of labour will be aware that there are laws that guide against HIV/AIDS stigmatisation and discrimination.”

He regretted that for five years, the National Assembly had failed to do something positive on the bill.

The NEPWHAN boss also made clarifications on possible sanctions against employers of labour that discriminate against HIV/AIDS victims in workplaces.

He said, “What we have now is a bill and the bill is not yet a law. We are still waiting for the passage of the bill into law. But if you look at the National HIV/AIDS Policy of the Federal Ministry of Labour, it is stated that for a person with HIV, if the person is working and he is discovered not to be doing well because the job is more strenuous, he should be given a less strenuous job instead of terminating his appointment on the basis of his HIV status.

“The bill specified fines by individuals or employers of labour who discriminate against their employees on the basis of their HIV status. We will hammer on that when the bill is passed into law.”

According to him, the five studies will assist the network in whatever agitation it wants to pursue on behalf of members.

He said, “Henceforth if we say stigma exists in a particular community we will be able to speak in the form in which it exists, where and other details. Also when people say they are being discriminated against, we know what exactly they are talking about.”

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Updated 7 Years ago

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Tags:     HIV/AIDS anti-stigma and discrimination bill Nigeria Law