Nigerian Advocacy Group Encourages HIV-Positive Couples to Marry, Offers Counseling, Other Services
March 10, 2009
An HIV/AIDS advocacy group in Nigeria's Bauchi state is encouraging HIV-positive people to marry one another in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading to HIV-negative people, the AP/Google.com reports. The program is run by the Bauchi Action Committee on AIDS and offers counseling and money to couples who are living with HIV/AIDS and are planning to marry.
However, officials in Bauchi note that the life expectancy in Nigeria is 48 years and argue that the program has benefits. Abubakar said it cannot be assumed that "someone with HIV will die sooner than someone else," particularly "if they are taking care of themselves, receiving good advice and proper medication." Advocates of the program also say that the "positive marriages" provide more than companionship in a society where HIV/AIDS-associated stigma is common. According to the AP/Google.com, Bauchi is the only one of the country's 36 states known to have such a program.
According to United Kingdom's Department for International Development, about four million of Nigeria's 140 million people are HIV-positive. The AP/Google.com reports that while HIV prevalence in Nigeria has decreased slightly to about 4% over the past three years, many health experts warn that the country "still has a lot of work to do to bring the epidemic under control" (Pownall, AP/Google.com, 3/7).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.