IT WAS POMP AND COLOUR AT THE Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, venue of the world AIDS Day commemoration organized by The Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) on December 1, 2009.
The event witnessed a large turnout of participants. Representatives of various NGOs, CBOs, students and teachers, trade unions, chairpersons of various Local Government Areas of Lagos , Lagos State Government officials, nurses and the media were not left out in the event.
In his welcome address, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye, who represented the CEO, LSACA, Dr. (Mrs.) F. A. Dabiri said that without human right, there will be no universal access. He referred to the need to get tested and know your status.
In his lecture titled, “Stigma as a Barrier to HIV/AIDS Prevention”, he defined stigma as a powerful and negative social label that radically and negatively affect the way individuals view themselves and the way others view those individuals as persons based on prejudiced position. He listed some of the causes of stigma to include insufficient knowledge, wrong beliefs and fear about how HIV is transmitted, judgmental attitude that perceives People Living with HIV and AIDS as being promiscuous among others and therefore, called on all and sundry to stop stigma and discrimination.
Other highlights of the event were a drama presentation , an exhibition by stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS, HIV Counseling and Testing and the official launching of the book, “Law For The Protection Of People Living with HIV and AIDS”, by the special Guest of Honor, Mr. Olasupo Shasore, SAN, Honorable Commissioner/Attorney- General, Lagos State Ministry of Justice. He re-iterated the commitment of Lagos State Government towards protecting the sanctity of every human being stressing the stigma and discrimination of PLWHA will not be tolerated. He informed those present that Lagos State gives Free Legal Counseling/Advise to those whose rights have being violated and called to them to avail themselves of the opportunity in other to stop the stigma and discrimination in the State. He formally introduced a document that has become a law guiding the protection of PLWHA in Lagos State.
In a related development, Action Health Incorporated (AHI) joined the rest of the world to mark the world AIDS day at the Youths Centre on December 1, 2009, With “Universal Access and Human Right” as its theme, the event featured various lecturers, a quiz competition, riddles and jokes as well as song renditions to young people. More than 100 young people took part in the event.