Dear Nigerian Police, isn’t it illegal for any institution to force applicants to disclose their HIV status?

hiv

The Nigerian Police force has concluded plans to screen 133,324 candidates shortlisted for recruitment into the force. However some of the stipulated guidelines for the process are in contravention of the existing laws of the land. According to the Nigerian police, they will test aspirants for HIV AIDS, Hepatitis B and C among other screening requirements. But, these tests as relating to the two viral infections listed above directly contravene existing laws (The HIV discrimination Act) which prohibits stigmatizing people living with HIV AIDS.

By all standards people living with the virus can live a healthy lifestyle like every other Nigerian but the two tests have far reaching legal implications on the victims and the force. One, by conducting the test the force is engaging in act of stigmatization of these individuals that may be living with this virus as they will be denied the ability to gain an employment irrespective of their qualification and this may leads to a psychological effect on the victims. Two, the force indirectly is about to violate the privacy of these applicants, status of some of the applicants living with the virus will be made known to the public because it is a general screening and since HIV screenings by lawy are mandated to be followed by immediate counselling for people who test positive, applicants who are rejected for whatever reason might end up being discriminated against anyways. Not to mention this is the same Nigerian police that routinely shares the private information of people they are investigating. Why would anyone want to trust them with their HIV status?

For this reason the Police service commission is advised to shun this action as it will lead to stigmatization, it will also lead to invasion of privacy of these individuals as this is a contravention of the HIV and AIDS anti-discrimination act as passed by the National Assembly in the year 2014 which provides that ‘discrimination based on real or perceived HIV status is prohibited in workplaces, communities and institutions, it calls for an non discriminatory practices for accessing employment opportunities, for equal access to terms and conditions of employment and to remain in employment with reasonable accommodation being provided until no longer medically fit to carry out the work’

The police service commission should avoid unnecessary legal tussle that may render its effort ineffective by rescinding some discriminatory guidelines of its screening as relating to People living with HIV AIDS!

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