NAC Wants Zero Discrimination Against People Living With HIV

By: Stephen G. Fellajuah

The National AIDS Commission has registered its displeasure against the discrimination of people living with the HIV virus and called for the repeal of apparent laws and practices against it while calling for due respect to be given to them. called for the respect of the rights of HIV positive stressing that laws that discriminate be repealed, which the institution believes is the right of every person.

The position of the commission was contained in a statement made by Mr. Lewis Wright, Vice Chairperson of the institution yesterday, Tuesday, March 1, 2022 during a program marking the observance of Zero Discrimination Day and the official launch of the Zero Discrimination Action Plan for Liberia.

“Every year, Liberia joins the rest of the world to observe Zero Discrimination Day, a day organized by UNAIDS in 2013 and was first commemorated on March 1, 2014, to promote and celebrate everyone’s right regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, etc, Lewis Wright, Vice Chairperson of the National Aids Commission, said yesterday Tuesday, March 1 when the institution join the world to commemorate 2022 Zero Discrimination Day, Lewis Wright Vice Chairperson of the Communication said.

He said that this year’s commemoration is under the Global Theme: “Remove laws that harm, create laws that empower” and that the National AIDS Commission agrees with the theme, and was happy with  the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) in highlighting the urgent need to take action against discriminatory laws, stressing that  this is important because discrimination continues to undermine national effort to address the impacts of HIV-related rights and other public health issues.

Wright said since the emergence of HIV in Liberia in 1986, persons living with HIV, key populations and vulnerable groups, have suffered from discrimination in their quest to seek care and treatment and live freely in society.

“It is worth nothing that discrimination has largely been responsible for most of the wrong things experienced in controlling and managing HIV and it is now time for all stakeholders to consolidate efforts.”

The Vice Chairperson added that dealing with discrimination will mean that Liberia as a member of the Global Partnership for Action to Eliminate All Forms of HIV-related stigma and discrimination, must take concrete and committed actions. “There is no time better than now, when we are joining global efforts to end AIDS by 2030 as a public health threat”, he further said.

According to him, since that time, the day has been observed on March 1 of each year and zero Discrimination Day aims to raise the voice for the right to live with dignity, despite one’s choice, beliefs, profession, education, disability or even illness.

The Vice Chairperson said as the Commission joins the rest of the world in observing Zero Discrimination Day, it maintains its statement during the 2021 World AIDS Day commemoration, that taking actions to deal with discrimination, will immensely  require policymakers to ensure that  no new HIV related discriminatory laws, regulations and policies are passed

“That all existing HIV related discriminatory laws, regulations and policies on our books are repealed Persons living with HIV and members of the key population have access to justice and can challenge rights violations, that no one is denied health services based on perceived or real positive HIV status, sexual orientation or gender identity. The commission remains persistent and definite that in order to translate commitments into measurable policy change and programmatic interventions that result into the enjoyment of HIV-related rights by all, Liberia needs to scale up HIV treatment to reach the 95-95-95- level for persons living with HIV and eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV to less than 2%, Mr. Wright said.

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