Cross River State governor, Senator Liyel Imoke yesterday reminded Cross Riverians that it was illegal to stigmatise or discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS, as the state’s anti-stigmatisation law passed by the state government will catch up with them. Governor Imoke, therefore, urged the citizenry to monitor and report cases of stigmatisation to help government drive the process.
The governor disclosed this as the state joined the rest of the world to commemorate World AIDS Day in Calabar, after a three kilometer City Walk Against HIV/AIDS with the theme, “Stop Stigma and Discrimination. Close the Gap”. According to the governor who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Effiok Cobham, “AIDS is no longer a killer disease, but a chronic disease that can be managed and early knowledge about one’s status could save our lives.”
He observed that in 2010, AIDS/HIV prevalent rate in the state was 7.1 percent, adding that whatever rate, even one percent was much, saying that the theme of this year’s celebration was apt, while emphasising that “We should close the gap in treatment and enlightening the people about the pandemic as well as the way we conduct ourselves.”