Stakeholders advocated for a strong legal and policy framework that will guarantee access to employment opportunities for young people living in a country with human immunodeficiency virus.
They made the call on Tuesday during a Zoom meeting as part of the ongoing Civil Society Accountability Forum organized by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the Youth Network on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
Addressing the meeting, the National Coordinator of the Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, stressed the need for legal protection to reduce stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV in the labor market.
We have many competent and very good people, but because of their status they are denied jobs.
We will continue to engage and work with all stakeholders to ensure that the rights of young people with HIV are protected.
I also encourage them to acquire skills that will allow them to be self-sufficient, instead of waiting for a white-collar job, he said.
However, Ibrahim encouraged HIV-positive people to look for other job opportunities instead of waiting for a white-collar job.
HIV Technical Expert and Coordinator for Occupational Health and Safety at the ILO Country Office in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Dr. Runo Onosode urged young people living with the virus to engage in digital transformation in line with global trends to enable them gain a chance to develop.
I call on the youth to leverage the digital economy for all the services that AI provides in terms of career development and opportunities, she said.
Acting Director of the National AIDS Control Agency’s Policy Planning and Coordination Department, Dr. Yinka Falola, said 300 cases of discrimination against HIV-positive people were recently reported and 80 percent of them had been resolved.
Work is ongoing to ensure that all barriers affecting employment opportunities for people with HIV are removed. We encourage you to consider becoming an employer.
Know your rights and where to turn when they are violated, Folola said.
AHF Advocacy and Marketing Manager, Steve Aborishade, noted that the meeting will help develop strategies to improve structures and policies that will promote non-discrimination and equal access to the labor market for young people, especially those living with HIV.
Aborishade stated that the meeting will also identify key employment barriers for youth and young people living with HIV and promote the creation of economic empowerment and vocational skills development initiatives that meet the needs of young people.
On his part, the Senior Program and Evaluation Officer representing the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS, Opeyemi Yekini, advised HIV positive people to report any incidents of discrimination and stigmatization among employees.
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