Nigeria: Senate enacts HIV/AIDS anti-discrimination bill

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) – The Nigerian Senate Thursday moved to end discrimination against persons living with the HIV in the country by passing the HIV and Aids Anti-Discrimination Bill.

The Bill, sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, who is the chairman of the Senate committee on Health, seeks, among other things, to reduce the HIV burden through the prevention of discrimination and stigmatization on the basis of real or perceived HIV status; encourage voluntary testing and counselling; provide access to treatment as well as reduce risky sex behaviours.

The new law also protects the rights and dignity of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS as well as promote appropriate and effective ways of managing the scourge in the workplace, community, institutions and other fields of human endeavours.

Senator Okowa, in his presentation, decried increasing rate of the HIV pandemic, describing it as one of the most significant challenges to health, development, economic and social progress facing the world today.

The lawmaker also cautioned that unless proactive measure are taken to address the HIV scourge, it will continue to account for increase in mortality rate in many countries of the world

According to the Senator, "in the countries that are worst affected, including our dear country, Nigeria, the impact of HIV and AIDS have eroded decades of development gains, undermined economies and destabilize societies.

AIDS is expected to continue to be the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in many countries and populations, including Nigeria, unless proactive measures are taken in the implementation of action plans that are workable and friendly, together with advocacy programmes at all levels of society.

In his remarks, Senate President, David Mark noted that people with "HIV and AIDS should no longer be afraid to relate with members of the society as awareness has taken care of discrimination.

"It is only better that we take care and look after those who are infected rather than discriminate against them."
-0- PANA MON/VAO 10April2014

10 april 2014 17:09:37




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