President Peter Mutharika has ordered the arrest of Eric Aniva, a 40 year old Malawian man who is infected with HIV and has over the past years been paid to sleep with young girls in Nsanje district, Malawi24 has learnt.
Aniva revealed that he has slept with over 100 women and girls, some as young as 12. For the services, he is paid about K2000 but he claims that he now performs fewer cleansings.
“I still do rituals here and there [but] I am stopping,” said Aniva when talking to the BBC.
In Nsanje where Aniva lives and in other parts of Malawi, women and girls are forced to have sex with men known as Hyenas as punishment for having abortion or as a ritual that is conducted when their husbands die. Hyenas also have sex with girls who have had their first menstruation in order to “cleanse” them.
The communities regard Hyenas’ work as necessary for protecting families of the women or sometimes the whole communities. But such rituals have for a long time been blamed for the spread of HIV.
Aniva says he does not reveal to the parents of the young girls that he is HIV positive even though he is required to have sex with the women without using condoms.
One of the elders who organise the girls in Aniva’s village insisted that there is nothing wrong with the ritual since it helps train girls so that they should not go astray.
But this has not gone well with Mutharika and he has issued the arrest of Aniva.