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[Published: Thursday September 04 2008]

Nigeria organises 'HIV marriages'

Bauchi , Nigeria,5 Sept-(ANA)- Bauchi state in Northern Nigeria is pairing up HIV-positive couples for marriage in anattempt to reduce the spread of the disease.

But international Aids expertshave voiced concern at the plan.

Warren Naamara from UNAidssaid the two people could have different strains of the virus, which couldinteract. He said the couples should use condoms.

Around 70 couples have beenmatched up in the last few weeks, Bauchi state authorities have said.

Authorities in the state saythey are trying to stop HIV spreading and battle the "isolation andstigma" of the disease.

Some 3% of Nigeria's adultpopulation - 2.4 million people - is estimated to be HIV-positive

Bauchi State operates under Sharia, orIslamic laws, and the use of condoms is not encouraged.

Dr Lirwan Mohammed, theexecutive secretary of the Bauchi Action Committee on Aids, said the polygamousculture of northern Nigeriahad increased the spread of the disease. (ANA)

FA/ANA/5 September 2008---

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