I was excited when I listened passionately to how the policy makers deliberated on issues and also listened to what people had to contribute to the Bill on the HIV/AIDS Anti Stigmatization and discrimination bill at the National Assembly. The essence of the public hearing was to analyze the content of the Anti-Stigma Bill and to make specific recommendations that will cover a wider group of people living with and effected by HIV in Nigeria. Based on the content of the HIV/AIDS Anti-Stigma bill, Stigma and Discrimination was only described in the context of employer and employee situation leaving out stigma in academic institutions, religious settings, within family, in the community, by health care providers amongst others. They specifically made mention of entities responsible for preventing the occurrence of discrimination on the basis of HIV status and also discrimination setting must include higher institutions in other words no higher institution should include HIV testing as part of their admission requirements. Over the years, we have seen an increase in the rate of stigma and discrimination in academic institutions and in our communities, particularly affecting young people, women and children. A lot of these young people living with HIV are left defenseless because there is no law that protects their rights. It is important to note that in Nigeria, a high percentage of people living with HIV and affected by HIV/AIDS are young people that are mostly unemployed.
Education as a Vaccine made an input concerning this fact and sen. Ifeanyi Okowa assured the YAG of EVA that our inputs would be included in the HIV/AIDS stigmatization and discrimination bill. As we continue to review the HIV/AIDS Anti-Stigmatization bill, it is my hope that all of our recommendations, on how the bill can capture the rights of those outside the labor market will be adopted by the House of Reps and Senate.