The Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), in collaboration with Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCAA), Fast-Track City Project and United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), has sensitised 30 Private Sector Human Resource Managers on HIV/AIDs Workplace Policy aimed at reducing the spread of HIV and mitigating the impact on both the infected and affected in the workplaces.
In her address at the workshop, the Chief Executive Officer of LSACA, Dr. (Mrs.) Monsurat Adeleke stated that in 2016, Lagos State signed on to the Global target on HIV epidemic control by 2025 and eradication of new infections by the year 2030, through the UNAIDS 95-95-95 Initiative, thus, there is a need for the adoption and implementation of the Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS.
While informing the gathering that the policy document was developed in 2013 by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, she highlighted the importance and the need for the adoption of such policy document at the workplaces to include HIV prevention, stigma/discrimination reduction and increased access to free HIV care as well as treatment services by the HIV-positive workforce in the State.
Dr. Adeleke further reaffirmed that HIV/AIDS is no more a death sentence once there is strict adherence to Anti-retroviral drug regimen because such client is expected to attain viral suppression that will result in U=U (Undetectable =Untransmutable) status, meaning any HIV positive client that attained undetectable viral load level is likely not to transmit the HIV virus.
She emphasised the commitment of the present administration in ensuring the wellbeing of the citizenry, most especially the youths, noting that they constitute about 43% of the State’s population and the Nation’s workforce.
The CEO opined that youths are more vulnerable to HIV infection due to their low-risk perception and risky behaviour, emphasising that this poses a huge threat to the future of the workforce in the country, if no action is taken.
While emphasising the need for sensitisation because a healthy workforce is synonymous with increased productivity, Dr. Adeleke averred that Lagos State, being a trailblazer, has led the HIV response in Nigeria with the support of the Implementing Partners, stressing the workplace policy on HIV/AIDS will increase HIV prevention, awareness campaign and stigma reduction in the State.
Thanking the Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCAA) and others for the collaboration with the State in making the workshop a success, she also educated the participants on COVID-19 infection, Prevention and Control methods.
Appreciating the Government of Lagos State on the behalf of other participants, Mrs. Odunayo Oluokun, the Human Resource Manager of 17 Goals African Initiative, thanked the government for the engagement of the Private Sector on the Workplace Policy on HIV/AIDS.
She implored the participating companies to adopt the policy for implementation in their respective organisations.