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Nice Try, Nigeria August 28, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Look What Google Barfed Up.
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And now, the latest installment in our Look What Google Barfed Up series: Allison McCarthy’s interesting Global Comment article about the efforts by the Nigerian government (specifically, the Bauchi Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria, pithily acronymed BACATMA) to prevent the spread of AIDS:

By marrying off HIV-infected singles to each other! Yes! Because as we all know, the primary vectors for the virus are single people, not dirty needles or the rape-happy Nigerian police (as described in the Amnesty International report cited by McCarthy). According to the Global Comment article:

Single men and women, coming to the agency’s doors as patients in treatment for HIV/AIDS, are viewed as the primary spreaders of the virus.  

Also according to McCarthy’s article, BACATMA has a history of matrimania (definition: disease where one gets all googly-eyed over the concept of marriage as a panacaea for social ills):

This is not the agency’s first attempt at policing sexuality under the guise of public health and disease prevention. Last October, BACATMA’s chairman, Dr. Sulaiman Muhammad, tried to initiate his marriage program among sex workers living in Bauchi.

These programs, in addition to slowing the spread of AIDS, are also intended to ease the social stigma against HIV carriers and AIDS patients.  According to the BBC, Dr. Lirwan Mohammad said that the effort will

cushion the psychological trauma of isolation

So here again we have the old misconception that marriage inherently makes you less lonely. And how is marrying them off to each other is supposed to help them be accepted into the larger (non-infected) community? Unless. . . the larger community is supposed to look at them and think, “Oh, well, they may have HIV/AIDS, but at least they’re not single anymore, so they won’t be spreading the disease any further, so let’s start inviting them to our dinner parties.”

(Of course that’s ridiculous. Who ever heard of singles being pariahs until they’re married, when they gain sudden acceptance? Surely none of Onely’s Copious Readers have ever experienced THAT.)

By encouraging the HIV/AIDS patients to marry off between themselves, isn’t BACATMA just creating an even more insular, restricted environment for them? I don’t know what sorts of laws and privileges Nigeria attaches to marriage, so maybe the patients would get superduper health benefits as (need I say it–heterosexual) couples. According to the reporting, they get some kind of dowry coverage and job opportunities to work at BACATMA.  But all in all, pairing off the patients seems like a silly, superficial attempt at quelling the spread of AIDS.

I think it’s a fair bet that some of our readers know more about this topic than I do, so please speak up, thanks!

–Christina

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Comments»

1. cheap uggs - March 9, 2010

It’s a very interesting point of view and items that I would like to know more as the interpersonal attitude is something that is not given much information.


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