AIDS Commission Supports ‘Zero Discrimination Day’

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In support of the government’s campaign against every form of discrimination and human rights violations, the National AIDS Commission of Liberia joins the United Nations, partners and the world to commemorate “Zero Discrimination Day,” today March 1.

“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 are wide spread and exist in almost every part of the world. Stigma and or discrimination are unfair treatment of someone or acting toward someone because one thinks he or she is different in some way, a press release by the National AIDS Commission of Liberia said yesterday.

There are numerous causes of stigma and discrimination some of which are myths & misconceptions, lack of adequate knowledge about the disease, fear about transmission, fear about death and illnesses, fear of being stigmatized and or discriminated against, moral judgments and negative perceptions about People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV)

The release said research has also shown that HIV positive individuals, especially women and children, face many acute challenges, including stigma and discrimination, violation of human rights, distant and limited health services, food 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), 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 #zero discrimination through drawings, pictures, audio and video. Contributions can be posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to illustrate personal stories about overcoming discrimination

By joining our voices together, “we can be part of a resounding call for compassion, tolerance and peace in Liberia,” the release said.

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