The Network of People living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), says the governor of Kogi, Yahaya Bello’s comment on HIV/AIDS, is a complete violation of the 2014 anti-stigmatisation and discrimination law.
Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim, the National Coordinator, said HIV/AIDS was not more deadly than Coronavirus (COVID-19), as presented by the governor.
Bello allegedly made the comment while debunking the rumour that he was COVID-19 positive, in a short video clip that went viral.
According to the NEPWHAN coordinator in an interview on Saturday in Abuja, 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.
“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,” Ibrahim said.
According to him, research has proven that HIV patients could live normal lives without transmitting HIV to others, a system called; Undetectable equals Untransmissible (U=U).
He therefore, called for collective condemnation of such discriminatory remarks.
Ibrahim urged the National AIDS Control Authority (NACA), 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. (NAN)