Liberia: NAC Leads Fight Against Discrimination

On the occasion of World Zero Discrimination Day, the National AIDS Commission of Liberia (NAC) issued a resounding call to action, demanding an end to stigma and discrimination across all facets of Liberian society.

World Zero Discrimination Day is celebrated on March 1 each year to promote equality before the law and in practice throughout all the member countries of the United Nations. NAC said, “Discrimination remains a major barrier in fast-tracking HIV interventions to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”

The Commission empathized that in order to address the country’s social, health, and economic challenges posed by discrimination, the health rights of persons living with HIV, key populations, and other vulnerable groups should be respected regardless of their health status, gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity.

“In recognition of this year’s global theme, “Protect Everyone’s Health, Protect Everyone’s Rights,”  it is important to allow persons living with HIV and other key and vulnerable populations who are directly affected by societal discrimination to feel confident and protected in accessing and adhering to life-saving treatment at health facilities,” they said,

However, the Commission is urging duty-bearers, healthcare providers, and social workers to expose and discourage discriminatory attitudes and practices taking place in healthcare settings, such as misinformation, lack of privacy, stereotyped or hate messages, and breaches of confidentiality.

To accelerate Liberia’s commitment to ending HIV-related stigma and discrimination, the NAC said: “It has collaborated with stakeholders to develop the Zero Discrimination Action Plan for the country and held the first-ever national stigma, discrimination, and advocacy conference.”

Meanwhile, the conference called on policymakers to ensure that no new discriminatory laws, regulations, and policies are passed and that there is zero denial of health services based on a person’s perceived or positive HIV status and sexuality. The conference also called for increased political will from the Liberian government in the fight against discrimination. 

In conclusion, the National AIDS Commission is commending its partners and donors, the Ministry of Health, UNAIDS, the Independent National Human Rights Commission, PEPFAR Inter-Agencies, the Global Fund, and civil society organizations, for their continuous support of the fight against stigma and discrimination in Liberia.