Prof. John Idoko of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS on Wednesday described the passage of the HIV and AIDS Anti-discrimination Bill by the Senate as a major landmark in the fight to check the spread of the virus.
Idoko, the Director General of NACA, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday that the right and dignity of People Living With HIV/AIDS would be guaranteed by the proposed law.
He said: “This is a major landmark in the country in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
“The bill now is only waiting for the President’s assent.
“When the law is finally signed by the President, it will undoubtedly widen the frontiers in the nation’s fight to control the spread of the deadly scourge.”
Idoko said the proposed law was intended to stop the stigmatisation and discrimination against people living with HIV.
The DG said it would also encourage the people to declare their status freely, access counselling and treatment and, thereby, reduce the risk of transmission.
Idoko said the proposed law would help institutions, schools and offices to address the issues of HIV and AIDS.
He said it would act as legal document for people living with HIV and AIDS.
The NACA boss said the Federal Government remained committed to improving the health of Nigerians and getting to zero on new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination.
The National HIV and AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey (NARHS Plus 2012) shows that HIV prevalence among the population is 3.4 per cent.
In December 2013, the Federal Government said it would increase the number of people receiving antiretroviral drugs from 600,000 to 1.2 million.