Bill to Prohibit Discrimination Against HIV/AIDS Patients Passes First Reading at AKHA

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A Bill for a Law to Establish the Akwa Ibom State Anti-stigma and Discrimination of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS and for Other Matters Connected Thereto on Thursday scaled through First Reading at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

The Bill which is sponsored by the Member representing Abak State Constituency, Hon. Udeme Otong, also seeks to regulate the practice of HIV/AIDS counselling and testing.

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The Bill, when passed into law, shall protect a person from being denied access to social amenities and infrastructure on the grounds of his actual, perceived or suspected HIV/AIDS status.

A draft of the Bill made available to Assembly Reporters, indicates that the Bill seeks to prevent HIV/AIDS patient from verbal abuse, harassment by gesture or posture and from being denied access to any employment for which he is qualified.

According to the Bill, counselling and testing for HIV/AIDS, shall be conducted by persons who have completed an HIV/AIDS counselling and testing training programme, approved by an authorized institution such as the State AIDS Control Agency (SACA).

Also, any person who wilfully or out of carelessness transmits HIV/AIDS to another, commits an offence and shall be liable to community service upon conviction.

Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, shortly after the first reading of the Bill, referred it to the Committee on Business, Ethics, Rules and Privileges for rescheduling.

Similarly, A Bill for a Law to Establish and Regulate Akwa Ibom State Official Symbols, And for Matters Connected Therewith, was read the second time and committed to the Committee on Information for indepth study and to report back to the House within two days.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Information has fixed Monday, September 21, 2020 as date for the Public Hearing on a Bill Law to Establish and Regulate Akwa Ibom State Official Symbols, And for Matters Connected Therewith.

In the meantime, the House has adjourned its Plenary to Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 10am.