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Alternatives for AIDS in Nigeria

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 01 December 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:0212469
  1. Chibuzo Odigwe, third year medical student1
  1. 1University of Calabar, Nigeria

Chibuzo Odigwe gives his perspective on alternative options for management and “cure” open to people with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria

Nigeria is the most heavily populated country in sub-Saharan Africa, and HIV and AIDS are a huge public health issue. In Nigeria, orthodox management of HIV and AIDS is in line with the standard practice worldwide. Most of the anti-HIV drugs like the reverse transcriptase inhibitors and the protease inhibitors are largely available. Unfortunately, although drugs are available, they are not affordable. Most Nigerians are so poor and the anti-HIV drugs so expensive that the drugs might as well be non-existent.

Any need for an alternative?

Given the problem of cost, a great need exists for an alternative approach to solving the HIV and AIDS problem. In Nigeria, society expects individuals to be healthy, willing, and able to work. People with HIV and AIDS cannot fulfil this demand. In Nigeria, we have no effective social security service for the welfare of people who cannot help themselves. So people explore alternative solutions.

People with AIDS carry a huge social stigma in Nigeria. Few people will shake hands with someone who they know is HIV infected. This maintains financial …

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