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HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act: Reps pledges to revisit act, end patients’ stigmatization

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From Msurshima Andrew, Makurdi

The House of Representatives has indicated commitment to revisit the HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act (2014) that makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on their HIV status.

Chairman House Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria (ATM) Control, Hon. Amobi Godwin Ogah, stated this in a statement signed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Advocacy and Marketing manager, Steve Aborisade and made available to our correspondent in Makurdi on Saturday.

Speaking during an awareness walk organized by AHF at Berger roundabout, Abuja, on Friday, Ogah said the Act prohibits any employer, individual or organization from asking anyone to produce a HIV test result as a precondition for employment or access to services.

Ogah who commended the efforts that have gone into fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria, by the Nigerian government and partners and, said members ATM committee are committed to implement a progressive legislative agenda that can provide the needed operational environment towards achieving the SDG 3 goal to end the AIDS and tuberculosis epidemic by 2030.

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He also lamented the challenges facing the global HIV/AIDS response, including insufficient funding, high rates of 1.3 million new HIV transmissions annually, and an estimated 630,000 deaths occurring each year and called for a concerted effort to halt the trend.

“On behalf of my colleagues, let me assure Nigerians, especially the community of people living with HIV/AIDS that we are fully with them and will join them to fight the harmful stigma and discrimination that hinder people living with HIV from fully realizing their potential.

“We will do everything within our powers to revisit the HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act 2014 that makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on their HIV status, which prohibits any employer, individual or organization from requiring a person to take an HIV test as a precondition for employment or access to services becomes fully operational. This is the least we can do for this community, and we are fully committed to seeing this through.

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“While acknowledging the significant progress made over the past decades, we are also not oblivious of the challenges facing the global HIV/AIDS response, including insufficient funding, dangerously high rates of 1.3 million new HIV transmissions annually, and an estimated 630,000 deaths still occurring each year, and in support of the global call for community leadership, we are determined to ensure that as a country, we also respond with a more robust local resources allocation to the HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria interventions in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, then Country Program Director, (CPD), AHF Nigeria, Dr. Echey Ijezie, said all hands needs to be on deck to ensure that the menace of AIDS is ended by 2023.

He said AHF is using the World AIDS day to remember those who have passed and those living with HIV and also using the opportunity to plead with global leaders to place HIV on the health agenda to provide adequate resources for the fight against deaths

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