About fifty-seven thousand people across the 13 Local Government and 18 Development Areas in Nasarawa State are said to be living with the HIV/AIDS virus in the State.
Executive Director, Nasarawa state AIDs Control Agency, Ruth Bello revealed this at a one-day sensitization meeting of religious leaders and other stakeholders on HIV/AIDs stigma and discrimination at the state Primary Health Care Development Agency on Thursday.
The data according to the director, Nasarawa State Aids Control Agency, was based on the Nigeria HIV/AIDS indicator and impact survey report that was drawn in 2010
“It is because of this fact that over 22,000 people who are HIV-positive and are not on drugs due to either stigmatization or discrimination, that a one-day sensitization meeting was organized for religious leaders, healthcare workers and other stakeholders to let them know about the anti-stigmatization law signed by the State Assembly in 2012.”
According to her, the law was made to protect the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS against stigmatization and discrimination of all forms in the society and encouraged participants to pass the message to their various locations.
“If they know they are protected they will come out to access care which will reduce the chances of transmitting the disease,” she added.
In a paper presentation on Rights and Responsibility under the Anti-stigmatization law of Nasarawa State, state coordinator National Human Rights Commission Nasarawa State officer, Nor Chia Shaky, explained that health workers should always adhere to professionalism by not revealing their clients’ HIV status to any.
He, however, stated that any stigmatization law that gives protection to people living with HIV equally spelled out penalties against anyone who stigmatizes and discriminates against HIV/AIDs.
The participants at the meeting were drawn from religious organisations and healthcare transmission in the state.