By Ola Ajayi
Ibadan—There is a new HIV/AIDS anti-stigma law in Oyo State, which forbids employers across the state from compelling job seekers to undergo compulsory test to determine their HIV status as a condition for being offered employment.
This is part of the highlights of the law, which was passed by the state House of Assembly and launched by the governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Secretariat, Ibadan, at the weekend.
It has thus become a criminal offence for anyone or institution in the state to deny people living with HIV/AIDS or due benefits as a result of their status.
The bill, which was sponsored by the Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Oyo SACA, also prohibits individuals or organizations from requiring a person to take HIV test as a precondition to access to social services.
The wife of the governor, Chief Florence Ajimobi, who doubles as the chairperson of OYSACA was also present at the occasion, among other top government officials.
Speaking at the occasion, Ajimobi said that the launch of the new law was another pace-setting effort of his administration, especially in response to the plight of the people living with the virus.
The governor, who was represented by the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan, said it was the responsibility of his administration to protect and preserve the lives of the citizens.
According to him, those living with the disease deserve equal government’s attention and opportunities as others who are certified healthy.
Ajimobi said, “The government of Oyo State is setting another pace today in the history of our collective response to the epidemic of HIV/AIDS.
“As a government, we owe it a duty and responsibility to protect and preserve the lives of every citizen of Oyo State and its dwellers, and to ensure that the well-being of everybody, irrespective of social and economic status, is taken care of.’’
In her remarks, the wife of the governor praised the efforts of the state government as well as the State House of Assembly towards the passage of the bill into law.