Experts adopt new names for HIV, AIDS and prostitutes in Nigerian languages

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[Ibadan]–Experts from the University of Ibadan under the sponsorship of Tertiary Education Trust Fund have adopted new names for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and prostitute.

This is revealed in a statement made by Professor Herbert Igboanusi of the University of Ibadan, who said the new names are necessary to eliminate stigmatisation and discrimination of persons living with HIV and AIDS as well as commercial sex-workers.

The professor explained that the study is a two-year research titled: “A metalanguage for HIV, AIDS and Ebola discourses in Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.”

According to him, after an extensive study, the experts have adopted that HIV will be referred to as Ori Nchekwa Ahụ- something that fights or weakens the body immunity, Kòkòrò Apa Sójà Ara (KASA)- sickness which kills the body immunity, and Karya garkuwa – that which weakens the body immune system, in Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa respectively.

The experts also adopted that AIDS will now be known as Mmịnwụ, a condition that causes emaciation, ààrùn ìsọdọ̀lẹ àjẹsára, a sickness that completely weakens body immune system and Kanjamau, a sickness capable of emaciating one’s body in Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa in that order.

Furthermore, in line with international practice, the study adopted a change of name for commercial sex workers now to be known as Ndị mkwụ̣gharị, people who hang around in Igbo, Gbélé pawó, women who stay at home making money in Yoruba and Mata masu zaman kansu, that is women who are living independently in Hausa.

Igboanusi called on speakers of the three languages to adhere to the use of these chosen terms in order to avoid confusing HIV with AIDS and consequently reduce their spread through behavioural change.

He said: “It is the researchers’ belief that behavioural change is only possible when the people are familiar with the appropriate terminology for HIV and AIDS in their own languages.”

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