As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the World AIDS Day (WAD), stigma and discrimination still remain major barriers militating against the national response to the epidemic.
WAD is marked on December 1 every year to raise awareness around HIV/AIDS. The theme for this year’s WAD is “Communities make the difference.”
Despite the existence of the Anti Discriminatory Act, Persons living with HIV still experience stigma, hostility, denial of gainful employment, forced resignation or retirement, delivery of poor quality treatment and segregation in hospital wards.
According to the Nigerian HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), 1.9 million Nigerians are currently living with the disease.
The report also indicates that Akwa Ibom has the highest prevalence rate, followed by Benue State.
A visit to these states by a PREMIUM TIMES reporter reveals the high rate of stigma that still exists in the country in-spite of the advancements made in tackling HIV.