team of Nigerian linguists and medical experts have adopted new names for HIV, AIDS and prostitutes in the three major Nigerian languages; Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba in a bid to reduce the scourge of stigmatisation.
With the development, HIV in Igbo is termed “Ori Nchekwa Ahụ,” meaning something that fights or weakens the body immunity while AIDS is “Mmịnwụ, a condition that causes emaciation.
In Hausa, HIV is now “Karya garkuwa” meaning that which weakens the body immune system while AIDS is “Kanjamau” a sickness capable of emaciating one’s body.
In Yorùbá, the new term adopted for HIV is “Kòkòrò Apa Sójà Ara” (KASA) meaning sickness that which kills the body immunity while AIDS is “ààrùn ìsọdọ̀lẹ àjẹsára” a sickness that completely weakens body immune system.
According to a statement by Prof. Herbert Igboanusi of the University of Ibadan, the adoption which followed a two-year research titled, “A metalanguage for HIV, AIDS and Ebola discourses in Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba” sponsored by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) was to eliminate stigmatisation and discrimination against persons living with HIV and AIDS.
Igboanusi urged 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.
“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.”
Similarly, the experts also adopted new names for commercial sex worker in line with international practice.
In Igbo, the now acceptable name for commercial sex workers or prostitutes is “Ndị mkwụ̣gharị” meaning people who hang around, “Mata masu zaman kansu” meaning women who are living independently in Haus and.
“Gbélé pawó”, meaning women who stay at home making money in Yoruba.