Sitting in his dimly-lit office in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, surrounded by files and boxes of condoms, matchmaker Ugochukwu Michael talks passionately about the part he has played in the marriages of around 100 couples in recent years.
While the popularity of dating apps and websites may make Michael's efforts to play Cupid seem old-fashioned, his matchmaking service stands out from the rest. "Sometimes, I spend days without sleeping," he said, his phone ringing non-stop as he explained how most calls come in the middle of the night when it is cheaper to call.
The 45-year-old started his service in 2012 with the desire to help those he describes as Nigeria's "rejects" after becoming disillusioned with widespread stigma toward people with HIV.
"You will see a lot of improvement," Michael tells one caller. Yet discrimination toward Nigeria's some 3.5 million HIV-positive people is rife, and many struggle to enter university or find work, health experts and human rights activists say.
"Let's see how it will be before the end of the month." The prevalence of HIV among adults in Nigeria is relatively low for sub-Saharan Africa, around one in 30 compared to one in five in South Africa, said the U. "Stigma is the obstacle to achieving the 90-90-90 agenda," John Idoko, director general of Nigeria's National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
By 2020, UNAIDS wants 90 percent of people with HIV to know their status, 90 percent of diagnosed people to be on treatment, and 90 percent of those on treatment to have suppressed levels of the virus in their bodies.
"HIV-POSITIVE SUGAR MUMMY" After a failed attempt to migrate to Europe six years ago and the loss of his life savings from his job as a technician, Michael decided to volunteer with a Catholic organization.
Beyond setting up dates, Michael also ensures that every person he works with is registered with a specific hospital and that they are regularly taking their antiretroviral drugs.
"I cannot match-make anyone who is not on drugs - it is a lot of risk," Michael said, sitting in his office in front of a decorative wall hanging that reads: 'May hope encourage you'.
Michael also provides his clients with free condoms and booklets about HIV, and teaches them about safe sex.
For people seeking medical advice, he refers them to a doctor.
Helping out at a state hospital where nurses were reluctant to get too close to HIV-positive patients made Michael aware of the discrimination they faced daily.
"I encouraged the patients to help one another do things, like go to the toilet, since they all had one thing in common." When the threat of Boko Haram forced him to move from the northeastern city of Damaturu to Abuja in 2012, Michael decided the time was right to launch his HIV matchmaking service.
Weary of trying to persuade government agencies to invest in his idea, he headed out into the streets of Abuja at night, hanging up around 100 banners to advertise his project.