Nagaland AIDS Policy To Fight Against Stigma

Chizokho Vero
Kohima | April 30

To reduce and control cross-border drug trafficking, the policy said, the government will develop collaborative strategies involving the police, excise, military and paramilitary, judiciary and civil society, both within and with neighboring states/country. The state will strengthen health-care delivery systems in the state keeping in view the epidemic of HIV/AIDS it said. It will also strengthen the existing STD control programme and STD services up to all the PHCs, the policy assured. All pregnant women are to be counseled for HIV testing while Nevirapine will be made available to all positive women and children. The policy also stated that HIV tests will be carried out as per the national HIV testing strategy.

All efforts are to be made to see that Anti Retroviral Drugs are made available and accessible and also strengthen laboratory diagnosis an Opportunistic Infection (OI) while drugs are made available and accessible to PLHA.  HIV/TB programmes will be strengthened through collaborative efforts; blood banks/blood storage units including private blood banks are licensed as per the Supreme Court’s directive and the Drug and Cosmetic Act Rule 1945. Developing a compressive strategy for monitoring and evaluation of ART Drug used in the state, also figured in the policy.

On stigma and discrimination, the policy called for dissemination of correct and factual information on the route of transmission and prevention and services available. Faith-based organizations  and societies will be encouraged to understand and advocate reduction of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination within the church and community. It assured to ensure that the HIV-affected have full right to participate in community activities and to employment in both the public and private sectors provided she/he meets the specified requirement for the job.

“Respect of the individual’s rights and confidentiality shall be maintained at all levels including the care and service providers’, the policy said. For treatment care and support for PLHAs, the policy stated that it shall be the policy of the state to give a continuum of comprehensive care.

Stating protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedom for all to be essential in reducing vulnerability to HIV/AIDs, the policy said no educational institution is to deny admission to any person on the basis of HIV status; it assured that HIV status shall not be a deterrent to employment opportunities, right to marriage and inheritance; HIV status shall not be a criterion for hospital admission, treatment or surgical procedures;  promotion and protection of women’s rights and reduction of their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS shall be ensured, the policy said.

Women, adolescent girls and people living with disabilities are to be empowered to protect themselves from the risk of HIV infection and that the state will provide protection to any PLHIV facing discrimination on grounds of their status. The policy assured HIV positive women the right to marriage, pregnancy, child-birth and inheritance.  All efforts are to be made for the infected and affected children to receive due attention. The policy assured to fully integrate Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in all areas of life including access to general education and care for children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Disabled women and girls are to be given attention in regard to protection from sexual abuse as well as in accessing education on HIV/AIDS. The policy also touched care, support and treatment, IEC and media, resources and other areas. Several dignitaries including NLA speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie, cabinet ministers, opposition leader Chingwang Konyak and Chief Secretary Lalhuma, among others, were present at the meeting.