Original Research

Healing of the haemorrhaging woman as a model for checkmating stigma of people living with HIV

Ruth O. Oke
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 38, No 1 | a1684 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v38i1.1684 | © 2017 Ruth O. Oke | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 August 2016 | Published: 04 August 2017

About the author(s)

Ruth O. Oke, Department of Christian Religious Studies, Federal College of Education, Nigeria


Diseases in human history are not just originating as a hit out of space. Some theologians contend that they must have originated with the human race. Apparently, it is inferred that they have come as a result of human disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden, or as a means of expression of his wrath. Other biblical perspectives ascribe disease to the work of the adversary or the Devil (Job 2:7), jealousy from others (Job 5:2) and self-indulgence (1 Sm 15:1–17, 16:14–15; 23, 1 Cor 10:1ff.). Stigmatisation of people with haemorrhaging condition (the issues of blood) in the biblical accounts of the old Jewish society compares well with stigmatisation of people living with HIV (PLH) in the current dispensation. It is needful to ask whether stigmatisation, discrimination and exclusion of the sick are a recent phenomenon. Landman observes that people with communicable diseases were separated from the rest of the congregation in the Old Testament dispensation. However, in the New Testament, a more charitable standpoint was anticipated because of the revolutionary stance of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. During his ministry, Jesus regarded the outcasts as integral members of the Jewish community. He in fact associated with and touched those who had dreadful diseases like leprosy (Mk 1:40–43, 2:1ff., Jn 8:1–9). Stigmatisation is associated with HIV in Nigeria and all over the world. However, the model of interaction set by Jesus with the Woman with the Issue of Blood in Mark’s narrative in the Gospel proposed a charitable standpoint which if adopted by the Nigerian society will go a long way in stemming the stigma associated with HIV. It is anticipated that these biblical indices will facilitate reduction, if not the eradication of stigma in the society. The text under study will be contextualised.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: In this article, the African reading of the Bible is brought to the fore using a liberating theology of Jesus in the context of the haemorrhaging woman, using this as a standard in ameliorating the stigma experience of PLH in the era of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria context. It is applicable to all fields of biblical study, social sciences and even health practitioners.


HIV& AIDS; Haemorrhaging Woman; Biblical Indices; Stigma; Mark's Gospel; Contemporary application


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