By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) has tasked Nigerians not to discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS.
The foundation in a statement issued yesterday by Steve Aborisade, its Advocacy & Marketing Manager, said the Acting Country programme Manager of The NGO in Nigeria, Dr. Greg Abiaziem, outlined the reasons why discrimination should have no place in Nigeria.
The statement quoted him saying, “there is no doubt about the grievous impact that discrimination continues to wreck everywhere it exists, causing pain to many and undermining concerted effort aimed at achieving a just and equitable world. On ‘Zero Discrimination Day’, we are enjoining Nigerians to come together and challenge discrimination,
wherever it rears its head.
“In Nigeria, persons who are HIV positive particularly face daunting challenges due to the stigma attached to the disease. However, we note that behind every act of discrimination is a barrage of ignorance. On this Zero Discrimination Day, we must ensure that everyone, wherever they may be, have access to health care, in a safe environment with the opportunity to live life fully with dignity and without discrimination.
“As a nation we must frown at a development which ensures that people are still denied access to healthcare services, jobs and admission into schools based on their HIV status. We all must acknowledge that it is wrong to reject and ostracise individuals and treat them unfairly because of their HIV status.”
He said Nigerians must actively stamp out discrimination in the polity and that government must ensure the anti-discrimination law becomes active with direct impact on the lives of the people.
“For employers, it is time that discrimination in hiring due to a positive HIV status stop forthwith, since a positive HIV status has been proved to have no bearing on productivity when individuals are on treatment. For individuals and families, let us embrace the fact that love trumps hate.”