Society of African Journal Editors

Ibadan Journal of Humanistic Studies

Nigerian Women, HIV/AIDS, and the Quest for Social Justice

Authors: BA Lanre-Abass

Journal: Ibadan Journal of Humanistic Studies

Worldwide, the HIV health risk for women is rising. This risk is compounded by the gendered nature of poverty, whereby women are typically the poorest members of impoverished communities. The fact that poverty increases vulnerability to HIV infection makes Nigerian women particularly at risk, biologically and socially. They have less secure employment, lower incomes, less access to formal social security, less entitlement to asset and savings and little or no power to negotiate safe sex. It is against this background that this paper examines the effect of poverty on the health of many Nigerian women. It underscores the fact that many responses to HIV and AIDS do not adequately address unequal power relations that increase women’s vulnerability. The paper argues that the health burden placed on Nigerian women by HIV and AIDS and its attendant effects can be addressed by emphasizing the idea of social justice, directed at the ultimate goal development. It aims at improving and enhancing the quality of life of all persons by emphasizing issues of respect for human rights, dignity and fundamental freedom. The paper concludes by stressing that since a major requirement of social justice entails respecting people’s rights, there should be attitudinal change among people particularly those that discriminate against HIV positive women and the victims of full-blown AIDS.