Nigerien Sociologist Announces He Has HIV on National Television, Breaks ‘Taboo’
Salifou Ibrahim, a sociologist in the West African nation of Niger, on Sunday broke a "taboo" against speaking out about AIDS by announcing on national television that he is HIV-positive, BBC News reports (BBC News, 7/29). Ibrahim said he learned he had HIV eight months ago and was not surprised because he said he had been sexually irresponsible (Agence France-Presse, 7/29). Ibrahim said he had not told all of his relatives, including some he may have infected, about his HIV status before appearing on television, but made the appearance in order to break down the "wall of silence" that surrounds the disease in Niger (BBC News, 7,29). AIDS remains a taboo subject in Niger, where about nine in 10 people are Muslim, and most clerics have labeled the disease a "divine punishment for sinners and adulterers," Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 7/29). Ibrahim said he hopes other HIV-positive people will step forward and join him in spreading HIV/AIDS awareness by making advertisements in local languages. Niger has recorded 65,000 official cases of HIV, but officials say the figure could represent only the "tip of the iceberg" (BBC News, 7/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.