In Nigeria, a government program is trying to stop the spread of AIDS by … encouraging HIV-positive people to marry each other. The idea is that if they’re married, they won’t be as likely to spread the disease to others. And they’re giving serious incentives for tying the knot. In exchange for an “HIV-marriage,” the agency will pay a couple’s dowry, and even provide them with counseling and employment assistance. There is no actual evidence that these marriages reduce the spread of AIDS, but some couples do note serious benefits of marrying another person with HIV. Some have said that their marriage has provided them with a support group and reduced the stigmatization associated with this disease. But people at the United Nations organization, UNAIDS, think Nigerian officials should be focusing on prevention and treatment rather than encouraging folks with HIV to get hitched. Although people in Nigeria have access to free antiretroviral drugs, the UN thinks the government needs to go further. These drugs, coupled with medical advice, can reduce the chance that an HIV-positive couple will have a child born with the disease. But, since it’s unlikely that the parents will be around to take care of the child for as long as most healthy couples, the decision to reproduce is still problematic. [CNN]
What do you think? Good idea or way misguided?