Stop discrimination, stigmatization of HIV/AIDS carriers, says NGO

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By: Joy Odor/Kaduna

The Co-ordinator of a Non-Governmental Organization, Al-Umma Foundation Rigasa, under the Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Hajiya Aisha Usman who has been a carrier of HIV/AIDS for 17 years now has condemned the discrimination and stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS by the public, families and friends.

Narrating her story while speaking to Reportcircle in an interview in Kaduna on Friday, Hajiya Aisha Usman who said even in the face of her tries, she refuse to given up hope on helping herself and other people living with the virus in the State to feel save and cared.

The State Co-ordinator, disclosed that one of the major challenges facing them is stigmatization from communities and lack of empowerment, saying if people living with HIV/AIDS are empowered, they will be helping themselves without bordering others.

Hajiya Aisha confirmed that she has adopted six HIV/AIDS positive children, all of whom are boys abandoned by parents when they were discovered that they are carriers.

She said the women who are carriers like herself needed to be empowered for them to be self-reliant and provide for their children, expressing disappointment over attitudes of some Nigerians towards people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Co-ordinator therefore appealed to fellow Muslims in the State to extend hands of fellowship to women and their living with HIV/AIDS and called on the government and good spirited Nigerians to come to their aids as the resources of taking care of the people is drying up.

“People exploited on the fact that since government no longer lay emphasis on HIV/AIDS, the virus has been eradicated or non-infectious.

“Arming themselves with this false believe people go on to discouraged carriers from taking their drugs while some say they have prayed for such carrier.

“This has made HIV-AIDS people to abandoned their drugs and go back to their old ways of living because they think there is a cure for HIV/AIDS,” she opined.

Contributing, the Kaduna State Chairman of JNI, Alhaji Jafaru Makarfi affirmed that HIV/AIDS still remain a silent killer.

According to Alhaji Makarfi, this is because the public and government no longer lay more emphasize on it the way they do on political issues, hence, people conclude it is not infectious or has been eradicated.

The Chairman said government and Agencies concern must intensify efforts to make people come forward to know their status, saying if they come forward early, then they would be able to save themselves because it can be checked if not, completely eradicated.

He appealed to the public to stop discriminating against people living with HIV/AIDS because it is not a communicable disease.

Alhaji Mafarfi also called on both government and wealthy individuals in the state to pull resources together to fight this silent killer and warned that unless something drastic is being done, Nigeria in the next twenty years may become a nation of widows and orphans.

Commenting on the issue, the State’s Secretary of JNI, Mallam Ibrahim Kuseke, said HIV/AIDS is still a burning issue in the state and needed the combine efforts of government and well spirited Nigerians to fight it headlong.

 

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