World News: Nigeria Is Hooking Up HIV Positive Couples; Thousands of Zambians Mourn Late PresidentSeptember 5th, 2008
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Nigeria is hooking up HIV positive couples. One Nigerian state has decided to match up HIV positive couples in an effort to slow the spread of the disease. “Suitors who have tested positive and are willing to wed each other, can reduce the spread of the virus and also cushion the psychological trauma of isolation,” the executive secretary of the Bauchi Action Committee on AIDS, Dr. Lirwan Mohammed, told the BBC. In recent weeks, about 70 couples have been matched by the country’s Bauchi state government. The couples are (confidentially) hooked up during counseling sessions and have the freedom to accept or reject prospective mates. Under the Islamic laws the state operates under, condom use is not encouraged. But members from UNAids not only think this is a bad idea, but also a dangerous one. “There may be a very big danger in terms of the spread of the disease,” a spokesman said. Since two people could have differing strains of HIV that could interact, they should still use condoms, he added. He also believes it would be bad for kids. “The chances are that child would become a double orphan, they would lose both parents.” At least one HIV groom is happy, though. “If we should fear God, we should stop spreading the HIV virus through indiscriminate marriage, thereby infecting innocent people,” he told the news service anonymously. An estimated 2.4 million Nigerians are living with HIV.
Thousands of Zambians mourn late president. Thousands came out in Zambia Wednesday to pay their final respects to late President Levy Mwanwasa. After suffering a stroke in June, Mwanwasa passed away at age 59 last month in a French hospital. The ceremony brought the country to a standstill – businesses closed and millions of Zambians watched a live telecast of his funeral on state television, reports Reuters. As he was buried, Mwanawasa was honored with a 21-gun salute by five air force jets. “The flag has been lowered and a gallant fighter is gone, but Zambia must pick up the bits and pieces and forge ahead so that his legacy can live on,” Zambian pastor, Peter Ndhlovu said. Mwanawasa, respected for his strong financial reforms in his country, was a strong critic of longtime Zimbabwe leader, Robert Mugabe, whose country is in financial crisis. Mugabe, along with other African leaders (including presidents of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Malawi) attended Mwanawasa funeral. “Mwanawasa was a very courageous leader. He was very frank and wanted to change not only his country but the entire southern African region. We will greatly miss him,” Mugabe told a Zambian radio station. Mwanwasa left behind his widow Maureen and six children. At the service, she spoke of her late husband’s willingness to take care of orphans at his church. “He was the father of all. It is the orphans he took care of that bring pain to my throat, they are orphaned again,” she said. Rupiah Banda, the country’s vice president, is currently serving as acting president.