Academic journal article African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS

The Marginalization of Women in Anambra State of Nigeria as a Risk Factor in Hiv/aids Transmission

Academic journal article African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies : AJCJS

The Marginalization of Women in Anambra State of Nigeria as a Risk Factor in Hiv/aids Transmission

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper examines how different types of cultural marginalization and subservient treatment of women have become major factors in transmission of HIV/AIDS to Nigerian women with core study being on Anambra state women of Nigeria. Research findings from this study conducted at Nwafor Orizu College of Education, Nsugbe, Anambra State, indicated that as a result of the long standing maleness culture and patriarchal society in Anambra state, power, and authority are disproportionately held by men Subsequently, women are subjugated and relegated by men to secondary roles in the socio-cultural and economic matrix of Anambra state. The maleness syndrome, which is the epicenter of the culture, has driven women to the corners and margins of the society leading to marginalization and discrimination. This cultural inequality leads to multiple heterosexual marriage arrangements such as polygamy, surrogate husband/wife, widowhood practices, wife inheritance, and concubines. Marginalization continues to sustain women's low status and lack of assertiveness while sustaining limited opportunities to viable economic threshold and other enabling resources. Thus women's ability to make decisions about themselves, including their reproductive health and those of their children are inhibited by cultural taboos. In spite of the justifications of these cultural practices, this study show that they play a convergent role in aiding the transmission of HIV/AIDS among women. These components are mostly predicated by the strong traditional and cultural imperatives in procreation and patriarchal lineage. This research paper intends to highlight this problem and also provide recommendations and alternative solutions to this problem.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Marginalization, Women, Culture, assertiveness, Society, Nigeria, Igbo Culture, Anambra state

Introduction

The World Health Organization (WHO) (2010) estimated that 33 million people are living with HIV with 2.7million new infections in 2008 and about 2 million deaths recorded in AIDS-related illness. New HIV infections have affected disproportionately

Nigerian population. Nigeria with an estimated population of 140 million is Africa's most populous country (Pennington, 2007). Nigeria has an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 5.4% in 2003 and 4.4% in 2005. Peel and White (2003) citing Matemilola of the Nigerian army stated that the official rate figure is an underestimation. The author indicated that the rate is closer to 10%. In comparison with most other African nations, these rates are considered low. However, in 2009, about 56% of HIV- infected adults aged 15 and above are women although the life expectancy rate for women is 48 and 46 for men (HIV & AIDS in Nigeria, 2010) .Contrarily to Nigeria's large population, these rates when translated mean that an estimated 11.3 million to 13 million Nigerians were infected with HIV between 2003 and 2005. This number represents the second highest number of HIV/AIDS infected people per country in Africa, second only to South Africa (Pennington).

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has affected all sectors of Nigeria economy and all geo-political segments of the Nigerian population. In a country where healthcare provision is at a rudimentary stage, providing healthcare and support systems for the victims of HIV/AIDS has been tepid at best. Within Nigeria, Pennington (2007) found that prevalence rates varied from as low as 1.2% in Osun state to 5.6% in Anambra state and to 12% in Cross River state. The study also showed that about 13 of Nigerian's 36 states had an HIV prevalence rate of over 5%. However, this study did not investigate reasons for the variations in incidence rates.

HIV/AIDS in Anambra State

Anambra state is one of the 36 states in Nigeria. No official population record is available, but an unofficial record estimates the population to be 3 million. Within Nigeria, Anambra state presents a massive risk setting for HIV/AIDS. …

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