More people are affected by sickle cell in Nigeria than in any other country, so why is there a stigma around it – with even restrictions on who sicklers can marry?

A night out on Toyin Oshinowo’s 21st birthday wasn’t quite the coming of age story she had hoped. Just five minutes after having sex for the first time, she found herself hauled into the back of an ambulance en route to hospital with a sickle cell crisis.

“I look at this guy at the hospital and he looks panicky and after that we never really spoke again. I probably scared him off,” Oshinowo recounts with squeaky giggles, sprawled across the couch in her bedroom.

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