Support Groups, Marriage, and the Management of Ambiguity among HIV-Positive Women in Northern Nigeria
- Anthropological Quarterly
- George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research
- Volume 82, Number 2, Spring 2009
- pp. 369-400
- Additional Information
In the context of the African HIV epidemic, support groups are not simply spaces for discussions of social and health well-being; neither are they institutions functioning solely to cultivate self-responsible and economically empowered patients. HIV-positive women in northern Nigeria have appropriated a support group to facilitate their marriage arrangements. In this group, women negotiate the threats of stigma and the promises of respectable marriage through what I call the management of ambiguity surrounding their HIV status. I further argue that the practice of support group matchmaking reveals the local political economic dynamics that shape social and illness trajectories in resource-poor settings.