The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has cautioned employers of labour in the country not to discriminate against their employees with HIV.
Dr Sani Aliyu, the Director-General, gave the advice in a statement issued by the Head, Public Relations and Protocol of the agency, Mrs Toyin Aderibigbe, in Abuja on Monday.
The DG said that cases of employment-related stigma and discrimination remained a major challenge to ending AIDS epidemic by 2030.
The statement quoted Aliyu as saying: “The pandemic of HIV/AIDS has become one of the most critical workplace issues in our time.
“The unequal treatment of workers based on their HIV status in the workplace is a clear breach of their right to gainful employment.
“People living with HIV/AIDS have a fundamental right to work just like everybody else, stigma and discrimination are potent threats to this right, and undermine opportunities for people to obtain decent employment.”
Aliyu said that the agency would continue to collaborate with relevant agencies and organisations to achieve the goal of eliminating stigma and discrimination in workplaces.
“The continuous engagement of relevant stakeholders has led to strengthen capacity for compliance and effective implementation of HIV workplace policies.
“It has also built capacities on available options for addressing discrimination including redress, and made available legal services for survivors of human rights violations,” he said.
The DG added that the agencies and organisations involved in the advocacy included the International Labour Organisation, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment among others.
He noted that the collaboration would ensure that employers comply with the provisions of the National Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS, and the National HIV/AIDS Anti-Discrimination Act.
Recalls that the HIV and AIDS (Anti-Discrimination) Bill was signed into law in 2014 by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Act makes it illegal to discriminate against people because of their HIV status.
It also prohibits any employer, individual or organisation from requiring a person to take HIV test as a precondition for employment.