AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an NGO, has called on Nigerians to have zero tolerance for discrimination.
The acting Country Programme Manager of AHF Nigeria, Dr Greg Abiaziem, made the call in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
Zero Discrimination Day is annually celebrated by UN and other international organisations annually to promote equality before the law and in practice throughout member countries, especially to combat discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS.
Abiaziem stated that Nigerians and the Federal Government must actively eradicate discrimination in the society by ensuring that anti-discrimination law became active with direct impact on the lives of people.
He said “there is no doubt about the grievous impact discrimination continues to wreck everywhere it exists, causing pain to many and undermining concerted effort aimed at achieving a just and equitable world.
“On Zero Discrimination Day, AHF is enjoining Nigerians to come together and challenge discrimination, wherever it rears its head.
“In Nigeria, persons who are HIV positive particularly face daunting challenges due to the stigma attached to the disease; however, behind every act of discrimination is a barrage of ignorance.
“We must ensure that everyone, wherever they may be, have access to health care, in a safe environment with the opportunity to live life fully with dignity and without discrimination,’’ he said.
Abiaziem mentioned that a lot of people were still denied access to healthcare services, jobs and admission into schools based on their HIV status.
He however stressed that Nigerians must acknowledge that it was wrong to reject, ostracise and treat individuals unfairly because of their HIV status.
“For employers, it is time that discrimination in hiring due to a positive HIV status stop forthwith.
“A positive HIV status has been proved to have no bearing on productivity when individuals are on treatment.
“AHF urges every individual to treat one another first as humans with rights that need to be respected and upheld, let us embrace the fact that love trumps hate,’’ Abiaziem added.
The day is to raise awareness against all forms of discrimination. (NAN)