from All Africa
Byline: Adedapo Olojo
Lagos, - Government and relevant stakeholders have been called upon to help empower people living with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS); as a way to alleviate poverty among the masses in Nigeria.
The call was made by the Executive Director of Ajegunle Community Project (ACP), Alhaja Roli Daniju, during a programme on stigmatisation organised by the group in Lagos.
ACP, a non-governmental organisation, an NGO committed to reducing social inequalities among grassroots women and girl-child, organised the one day programme, titled, 'positive living and income generation' for women living with HIV/AIDS at their secretariat.
The programme was supported by Global Fund for Women (LFW) and the objectives is to sensitise women living with HIV/AIDS on positive living and doctoral skills acquisition on how to manage their own.
The group has also engaged in series of activities on issues of stigmatisation and discrimination of women living with HIV/AIDs at the grassroots level, organising road shows and market place seminar in Olodi Apapa, a Lagos suburb.
According to Daniju, "people living with HIV/AIDS need to be cared for. They are part and parcel of the society. They are just victim of circumstances but notwithstanding what an HIV- negative person can do, they (positive) can also do even better, because they have vision, mission and are full of hope for a greater future".
She claimed stigma and discrimination is a common reaction to certain diseases such as HIV/AIDs, which make it difficult for people living with HIV to seek help. Some diseases like TB Leprosy had carried stigma and discrimination in the past.
The programme was attended by people living with HIV/AIDS, both old and young. Present on that day was a 54 year-old woman who said she has been living positively for the past 10 years. Also in attendance was a woman who said she had three children, all of them HIV-negative.
All positive living woman present at the prig were thirty in number and they all confirmed that they are living a normal like others in the society and that they are not ashamed of declaring to the public that they are HIV positive.
According to Daniju, empowering positive living women is a way of eradicating/alleviating poverty because most of the women are being stigmatised by friends and families, with some husbands allegedly abandoning their women with children.
"Some employers of labour sack positive living women, nobody to help them with their children and they need to sustain a living. That is the reason why ACP is keen on showing love and concern to positive living women in the society".
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