This article investigates how Islam features in expressions of love and sex in northern Nigeria. It considers how HIV-positive women’s spoken and unspoken exchanges are enmeshed in intimate acts of betrayal and abandonment. I highlight the ways these women manipulate language to express their subjectivity while eliding details that could jeopardize their social relationships. Deeply stigmatizing public sentiments may discipline them into silence about their diagnosis, but these sentiments do not entirely efface their efforts to imagine a different future—one in which they can protect their dignity and fulfill crucial economic, social, and religious aspirations. This article explores a case in which an HIV-infected woman uses a shift in grammatical person over the course of an interview to transfigure religious and popular discourse about immoral, dangerous, HIV-infected women into an account in which she can present herself as an ethical subject.


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pp. 84-103
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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