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'HIV marriages' Being Arranged In Nigeria

Posted Sep 26 2008 5:16pm

In a move designed to curb the spread of HIV in Nigeria, authorities in the northern state of Bauchi have been arranging marriages for HIV-positive men and women. Approximately 70 couples have been matched in the past few weeks. Authorities have justified the policy to combat the "isolation and stigma" associated with HIV in Nigeria. The marriages were arranged through counseling sessions in which HIV-positive men and women could be introduced to potential partners from a pool of HIV-positive clients. An estimated 3.4 per cent of Nigeria's adult population is believed to be HIV-positive.

The spread of HIV in Nigeria has been linked to traditional polygamous practices in the northern part of the country. While couples have expressed optimism concerning their long-term prospect, representatives of international AIDS program have been less approving. They stress the need for both partners to continue using precautions to prevent infection given the existence of different HIV strains. They also raise concerns about pregnancy and the risk of HIV being transferred to unborn children.

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