October 4, 2023

Onozure Dania

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, has warned Nigerians against stigmatising or discriminating against people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.

Falana said despite that HIV/AIDS had been in Nigeria for decades, many were ignorant about the disease and that there were laws protecting HIV/AIDS patients from discrimination.

Falana spoke at an event in Lagos tagged, “ECEWS’ Centre for Disease Control funded Sustainable Programnes for HIV Epidemic Control and Equitable Service Delivery Project.”

Falana, who was the special guest of honour at the event, organised by a non-governmental organisation,

Excellence Community Education Welfare Scheme said the government was not doing enough in the fight against HIV in Nigeria, adding that there was still massive ignorance, despite the fact that the virus had been in the country for decades.

He noted that there are laws that protect PLHIV from being stigmatised or discriminated against.

“It is illegal for a landlord not to rent a home to PLHIV; it is illegal for a hospital not to treat PLHIV, and it is illegal to deny PLHIV employment,” he said.

The SAN pledged to collaborate with organisations like ECEWS that are fighting the scourge and to get the Nigerian government to be more proactive while appealing to religious and traditional leaders to join in the fight against the virus.

The Chief Executive Officer, ECEWS, Andy Eyo, said the NGO, in partnership with the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, would provide care for 100,000 Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

Eyo said the aim of the initiative was to reduce HIV- related morbidity and mortality, among others.

He said, “We will provide HIV services to over 100,000 people living with HIV. In Delta State, there are over 75,000 PLHIV; in Ekiti State, there are over 8,000, while there are over 16,000 in Osun State.

“We want people to know that HIV is not a death sentence. People should come through if they are positive. They should be able to access medications, get virally suppressed, and lead normal lives.”

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