In support of the Government’s anti-discrimination campaign against every form of discrimination and human rights violations, the National AIDS Commission of Liberia (NAC) joins the United Nations, partners and the world to commemorate “Zero Discrimination Day”, on Tuesday March 1, 2016.
“Discrimination is a violation of human rights and must not go unchallenged,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “Everyone has the right to live with respect and dignity.” Discrimination continues to affect the lives of millions of people around the world and people Living with HIV and AIDS are of no exception. HIV related Stigma and Discrimination is pervasive and exist in almost every part of the world. Stigma and or Discrimination is an unfair way of treating someone or acting toward someone because one thinks he or she is different in some way There are numerous causes of Stigma and Discrimination; some of which include Myths & Misconceptions; Lack of adequate knowledge about the disease; Fear about Transmission; Fear about Death and Illnesses; Fear about been Stigmatized and or Discriminated; Moral judgments; and Negative perceptions about People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV).
Research has also showed that HIV positive individuals, especially Women and Children, faced many acute challenges including stigma and discrimination, violation of human rights, Distant and Limited Health Services, Food National AIDS Commission Insecurity, lack of Shelter, lack of Vocational and Agricultural Skills, and Migration or Indebtedness occasioned by High Medical Expenses. Other Challenges are limited understanding of power relationships and limited access to health information on Opportunistic Infections and treatment options. Some of these have led to Drugs Resistance and Deaths. There is Limited Participation from PLHIV in HIV Policy Formulation, as well as Programs and Policy Implementation in response to the AIDS Epidemic.
The National AIDS Commission of Liberia in collaboration with the Joint UN Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), UNMIL, UN Agencies and partners will commemorate Zero Discrimination Day by popularizing the day through multi- media campaigns.
Zero Discrimination Day is a chance to Open up, Reach Out and Celebrate Diversity and to Reject Discrimination.
This year’s theme is Stand Out and encourages everyone to stand for fair and just societies. People can show their support for #zerodiscrimination through drawings, pictures, audio and video.
The National AIDS Commission of Liberia (NAC) was established by an act of the National Legislature in 2010 under the Office of the President as a demonstration of government’s unwavering commitment to, and involvement in, the fight against HIV and AIDS. The Commission was established to ensure a multi sectoral, harmonized response. Hence, while the National HIV and AIDS Control Program (NACP) focuses on government’s health sector response to the pandemic, the National AIDS Commission (NAC) is responsible for coordinating the multi sectoral response.