6 December 2012

Liberia: Stop Discriminating Against People With HIV/Aids - Gender PRO Warns

The Communication Officer at the Ministry of Gender and Development Madam Naomi Saydee has called on Liberians, especially those who are not affected with the HIV virus to desist from all forms of discrimination and stigmatization against people living with the disease in the country.

Speaking at the end of a three-section HIV/AIDS workshop for gender focal point in line ministries and agencies at the weekend, she said discriminating against and stigmatizing HIV/AIDs victims has the propensity to worsen their conditions and as well lead them to their early graves.

Judging from a universal survey or statistics, she said the issue of stigmatization and discrimination are the most effective and consistent means of killing people who are HIV positive.

She expressed the need for proper mechanism to be put in place so as to remedy the current situation, stressing that Liberia as a country is at a cross road where it needs every Liberian regardless of social, economic and physical status to contribute to its growth and development.

According to her, those living with the virus were no exception because "they too can contribute positively despite their health condition."

The Gender Ministry Communication officer noted that Liberia can be seen both locally and international as a nation that has not reached the stage where people can easily discuss their HIV/AIDs status and because of that the issue of HIV/AIDs is more like a taboo in the society.

"Time has come where people must do away with those negative notions of stigmatization and discrimination against HIV/AIDS carriers if they are to impact their lives and make the world a better place for everyone to live," she added.

Moreover, she recommended that the issue of AIDs should be discussed in churches between the pastor and its congregation, as well as the teachers and students and parents and children at home.

This, Miss Saydee noted will help in the fight against the high level of discrimination and stigmatization currently eating the fabric of the Liberian society.

"That it was against this backdrop that the Ministry through its HIV/AIDs desk taught it prudent to spread the message of HIV/AIDs to every part of the country, starting firstly with the religious and traditional community and as well the workplaces," she concluded.

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