4th February, 2021
The Association of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (AWLWHAN) has expressed concern over stigma from the society, saying its members have been battling discrimination.
The National Coordinator of the group, Mrs Helen Akpan, expressed the position in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.
She noted that stigma was responsible for the trauma and depression some of the women face.
Akpan, who expressed dismay at the level of discrimination and stigma perpetrated against women living with HIV, appealed to governments at all levels to implement the anti-stigma law.
She explained that such attitude was a violation of the country’s anti-stigma law signed by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
She added that “I have advised our members or persons being discriminated or stigmatised to seek redress in court.
“Many of the people doing this are ignorant, but our security agents are not helping matters because they are so complacent about enforcement.”
The HIV/AIDS rights advocate who condemned in totality the role of some faith organizations in promoting stigma and discrimination, urged the victims to assert their legal rights.
“In the law court, one has the right to claim damages and other reparations,” she said.
Former President Jonathan signed an anti-discrimination bill into law that protects the rights and dignity of people living with HIV.
The HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act 2014 makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on their HIV status.
It also prohibits any employer, individual or organisation from requiring a person to take an HIV test as a precondition for employment or access to services.