NEPWHAN accuses Gov. Bello of stigmatization
The Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) has said the comment by the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, on HIV/AIDS is a complete violation of the anti-stigmatization and discrimination law of 2014.
Abdulkadir Ibrahim, National Coordinator of NEPWHAN, who spoke on behalf of members, said HIV/AIDS was not more deadly than Coronavirus Disease as presented by Bello.
Ibrahim was reacting to the governor’s comments while debunking the rumour that he was COVID-19 positive in a short video clip that went viral.
The NEPWHAN helmsman told the News Agency of Nigeria in an interview on Saturday in Abuja that Bello had said anyone wishing that he contracted the disease would be infected with HIV/AIDS.
He urged the governor to immediately apologise to persons living with HIV or legal action would be instituted against him. He said: “How can a governor make such a stigmatising comment as if HIV is a death sentence or as if it is more deadly than COVID-19? “One can embrace a HIV positive person as well as shake their hands, but one cannot do the same to a COVID-19 patient, proving the deadly nature of the disease.”
According to him, research has proven that HIV patients could live normal lives without transmitting HIV to others with a system called Undetectable equals Untransmissible.
Ibrahim, therefore, called for collective condemnation of such discriminatory remarks. Ibrahim urged the National AIDS Control Authority to step-up enlightenment on the challenges and nature of people living with HIV/AIDS in order to correct negative impressions that could be created by such comments.