HIV and AIDS is a worldwide health challenge. It is not a disease of race, gender, age, geographical location or economic status
Millions of people have died from the disease and millions more are living with it.Epidemiological studies reveal that 3.2 million Nigerians are living with HIV and about 500 thousands are newly infected.
Nigeria has the 2nd highest burden in the world. People living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) are spread across all age-groups, though mostly between ages 15 and 40,
Which constitutes the majority of workforce, the singles and waiting population.
Gender And Age Epidemiology
According to UNAIDS in 2010, driven by huge populations and gender disparities in Sub-Saharan Africa, young women aged 15-24 make up 60% of people living with HIV globally
11% of adolescent girls have had sex before age 15, accounting for 16 million births every year. An estimated 2 million adolescents aged 10-19 were living with HIV in 2009, 65% of them are girls
A 2005 multi-country study found that between 1%-21% women experience sexual abuse before age 15. In a nutshell, there’s a higher percentage of woman and girls living with HIV
Sero-discordance is the term used to describe the conflicting HIV status of intended couples or already married couples.
Marriage is a blessing but sero-discordance is huge concern. Especially when the woman/lady is HIV positive.
Conflicting HIV status brings discontent, rejections, segregation, intimidation, relegation and disapproval. Various concerns are meditated and acted upon, of which families of couples involved are unhappy.
A good number of disturbing issues arise between sero-discordant couples. Most of which are foundations of marital bliss and coexistence.
Some of these concerns include;
- Financial commitment for management
- Public acceptance
Transmission from person to person is the chief concern of sero-discordant couples. Husbands are scared of getting infected by positive wives just as much as wives are about their positive husbands.
Infection/transmission to offspring is another height of fear between sero-discordant couples where the wife is positive.
All these fears were subjected to research and it was found that the probability of transmission from husband to wife is greater than wife to husband.
Also, if a nursing mother is under appropriate and regular Anti-retroviral therapy (ART), she is less likely to transmit to her babies during birth/breastfeeding
Irrespective of the transmission concern, ART provides a safe window for normal social interactions as long as sharps and accidental discharges are monitored/avoided.
Financial Commitment For Management
At the current Naira to Dollars exchange rate, monthly ART is estimated to cost between #684,000 to #1,714,000. This requires huge financial capacity and can cripple the financial/economic status of a family.
As a result, many try to opt for subsidized treatment options and for some who couldn’t, they risk family breakup and abandonment.
One of the major challenge of people living with HIV/AIDS is public acceptance. In Africa for example, your HIV status is a treasured secret to prevent public shame.
Positive individuals are treated as less human than everyone else. They are detached from social gatherings and usually actively treated so.
Human being are the prime social animals and anyone lacking social connections slips into depression or hostility. Therefore, intentional transmissions linger. Plus increased suicide rate and tendencies.
Rejection and disapproval can ensue as a result of Traditional or cultural procedures.
Africans or Nigerians precisely always do background checks for intended couple and diseases raise serious eyebrows.
Should you marry a positive individual? Maybe. Can you marry a positive individual? Yes. If the concerns mentioned above can be dealt with or probably eliminated, marriage can occur happily.
Read also: What You Need To Know About HIV And AIDS