We are not asexual: Disabled persons

HARARE - People living with disabilities face a number of challenges, but perhaps the most dangerous is society’s unspoken belief that they are somehow asexual beings.

Recently in Harare, this group declared that they also engage in sex despite the widespread belief.

“I am not asexual. People think that because I am visually impaired that means I am asexual. Sexual activity is done in the dark, people switch off the light to do the deed. For me I think I am always ready for the act,” said Edwin Ndlovu.

Ndlovu, who is the programme coordinator of the Disability, HIV and Aids Trust (DHAT) said there is a gap between disabled youths of Zimbabwe and their access to HIV information.

“Youth that are visually impaired don’t have access to information on HIV/Aids because there are no publications in Braille. There is a gap,” he said.

Ndlovu added that for the hearing-impaired group, voluntary testing and counselling and other facilities have no sign language translators.

“The people with hearing impairment cannot go for HIV testing because the help they need is not available to them,” he said.

“Policymakers should consult persons with disabilities, if they want to make policies concerning us,” Ndlovu said.

He said people living with disability are facing challenges because a lot of them are educated but unemployed.

“Society discriminates against people living with disabilities,” he said.

Hamida Mauto, DHAT country coordinator said: “Whilst we are patting ourselves on the back for achievement and have moved on  to talk about therapy, but with disability, we are still talking about basics of HIV.

The relationship between HIV and people with disabilities is negative. And we have realised that with anti-retroviral therapy, people are living longer lives.”

She said a high percentage of people with hearing impairment do not go for voluntary testing and counselling.

“Yet persons with disabilities are more sexual than the able-bodied. There is nothing wrong with their organs,” said Mauto.

She said policymakers need to understand people with disabilities.

Marikita Koto-Makamure, who is a disabled war veteran and mother of two boys, echoed the same sentiments, saying there is need to provide more access to health facilities and information on HIV/Aids to the disabled.

She said  she was fortunate to have people around her who were supportive and were willing to assist her, but also noted that some of her peers were not so fortunate.

Meanwhile, DHAT executive director, Philemon Simwaba, said people with disabilities want to be empowered with decision-making and this needs information.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is estimated that there are about 1,3 million people with disabilities in Zimbabwe, which is about 10 percent of the total population. In common with the fate of people with disabilities the world over, people with disabilities in Zimbabwe suffer from widespread violation of their fundamental freedoms and rights.

They face exclusion from education, employment, cultural activities, festivals, sports and social events and are especially vulnerable to poverty, physical and sexual violence, lack of access to health care, emotional abuse and neglect.

Only 33 percent of children with disabilities in Zimbabwe have access to education, compared with over 90 percent for the able-bodied populace.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.