COlaHR
 
 


The HIV and AIDS (Anti-discrimination) Act, 2014 came into effect on 28 November 2014. It was enacted to create a balance between the rights and responsibilities of all members of society, with respect to HIV and AIDS in Nigeria. In particular, it aims to fight discrimination against people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, because such unfair treatment towards them profoundly affects their dignity as human beings and hinders efforts to end the HIV epidemic in Nigeria. Discrimination refers to actions and omissions that amount to arbitrary distinction, exclusion, restriction or unfair treatment affecting a person who is, or is suspected to be, living with or affected by HIV and AIDS. Misperceptions about HIV and AIDS, excessive fear of the disease, as well as judgemental attitudes towards people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, often lead to discrimination and unfair treatment against them. Stigma refers to negative perceptions and feelings towards people living with or affected by HIV, on the ground of their real or perceived HIV status. Discrimination refers to actions or omissions motivated by stigma and manifests in various forms. According to the HIV and AIDS (Anti-discrimination) Act, 2014,  acts of discrimination against people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS on the basis of their real or perceived HIV status include the following:

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Denial or removal of any medical treatment, medication or any supporting and enabling facility;
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Refusal to accept, or to offer, treatment by a qualified medical personnel;
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Failure to remove, eliminate or ameliorate any obstacle that unfairly limits or restricts people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS from enjoying equal opportunities, or failure to take steps to reasonably accommodate their needs;
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Refusal to admit them into school or to allow them to remain in an educational institution;
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Denial of access to religious and worhsip areas and services, to communal places, to residential spaces and to other social facilities;
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Deprivation of their right to be elected or appointed to public or private office or deprivation of their right of admission to a public or private function;
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Denial of access to credit, loans and insurance services;
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Prohibition to marry another person.

Punishment for discriminating against a person
The HIV and AIDS (Anti-discrimination) Act, 2014 punishes acts of discrimination towards a person living with, or suspected to be living with, and affected by HIV and AIDS by a fine of not less than ₦500,000 if committed by an individual and ₦ 1 million if committed by an institution such as a workplace, a hospital or a school. Courts may also punish discrimination to a prison sentence not exceeding two years, or order both fine and imprisonment.

In addition to these sanctions, people who believe they have been victims of acts of discrimination because of their real or perceived HIV status can bring a civil action in court against any person or institution to claim the payment of compensation and damages. They must communicate their decision to do so to the Federal Minister of Justice, in writing, alongside the petitition.

For Legal Advice:
Email: colahr.nigeria@gmail.com
Tel: 08026826761
 
 
 

 
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