Nigeria Senate passes anti-AIDs discrimination bill

The bill recommends a jail term, a fine or both for unlawful disclosure of the status of the infected person.

Nigeria Senate passes anti-AIDs discrimination bill

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Nigerian Senate on Thursday passed a bill criminalizing discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS.

The bill recommends a two-year jail term, a maximum fine of $6,250 or both for unlawful disclosure of the status of the infected person.

Senate Health Committee Chairman Ifeanyi Okowa told the chamber before the bill was passed that the intention is to "protect the human rights and dignity of people living with HIV/AIDS" and "encourage those that were infected to declare their HIV status in a more friendly Nigerian community."

Under the bill, it is an offence for any employer, institution, body or individual to require an HIV test as a precondition to an offer of employment or access to public/private services.

It also bars educational institutions, private or public, from demanding HIV/AIDS testing as a requirement for admission or accreditation.

"Every person living HIV / AIDS shall be assured of freedom from unlawful termination of his or her employment by reason of his or her status," the bill reads in part.

The bill is expected to become a law only when the president assents to it.

Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic globally.

According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), there were an estimated 3.4 million people living with HIV in Nigeria by 2012.

Last Mod: 11 Nisan 2014, 10:07
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