Stakeholders are advocating for the implementation of more impactful employment policies for individuals living with HIV.

Busy Bee
Busy Bee November 8, 2023
Updated 2023/11/08 at 10:31 AM

During a Zoom meeting at the ongoing Civil Society Accountability Forum, participants emphasized the importance of establishing a robust legal framework and policies to ensure that young individuals living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the country have equitable access to employment opportunities.

This call was made by stakeholders in the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Youth Network on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria during the meeting held on Tuesday.

Abdulkadir Ibrahim, the National Coordinator of the Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria, highlighted the critical necessity for legal safeguards aimed at eradicating stigmatization and discrimination against HIV-positive individuals within the workplace. He noted that there are many highly competent individuals who are denied job opportunities due to their HIV status.

“We are committed to collaborating with all stakeholders to protect the rights of young people living with HIV. Furthermore, I encourage them to acquire skills that will enable them to be self-reliant, rather than solely relying on traditional white-collar jobs,” he stated.

Ibrahim also encouraged individuals with HIV to explore alternative job opportunities instead of waiting exclusively for white-collar positions.

Dr. Runo Onosode, the HIV Technical Expert and Occupational Safety and Health Coordinator at the ILO Country Office for Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra-Leone, urged young people living with HIV to embrace digital transformation in line with global trends. This, he explained, would open doors to various opportunities for them to thrive.

“I encourage young people to leverage the digital economy and the opportunities provided by Artificial Intelligence for career development,” she emphasized.

Dr. Yinka Falola, Acting Director of the Policy Planning & Coordination Department at the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, shared that 300 cases of discrimination against individuals with HIV had been reported recently, with 80 percent of them successfully resolved.

“We are committed to eliminating all barriers that hinder job opportunities for people with HIV. We encourage you to explore the possibility of becoming employers and to be aware of your rights and where to seek help when your rights are violated,” Falola explained.

Steve Aborishade, the Advocacy and Marketing Manager of AHF, highlighted the purpose of the meeting, stating that it aims to develop strategies for improving structures and policies that promote equal access to the job market and prevent discrimination, especially for young people living with HIV.

Aborishade added that the meeting will also identify the primary obstacles related to employment for adolescents and young people living with HIV and promote initiatives for economic empowerment and vocational skill development tailored to their specific needs.

Opeyemi Yekini, the representative of the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS, who serves as the Senior Programme and Evaluation Officer, offered guidance to individuals living with HIV, encouraging them to report any instances of discrimination and stigmatization in the workplace.

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