The disabled youth community has decided to join the ongoing struggle against the HIV/AIDS pandemic by fighting the spread of the disease amongst their communities.
The community is calling for equal dissemination of information to those who have disabilities just as much as that has been given to the abled society so that they are informed of how best to save themselves from getting infected.
The Botswana Federation of the disabled (BOFOD) recently held a seminar in commemoration of the Month of Youth Against HIV/AIDS at Kagisong Center.
The theme of the seminar summed up the angle from which BOFOD planned to tackle the commemoration, ‘Youth with disabilities leading by keeping the promise to stop AIDS’.
BOFOD had planned to bring about 60 youths with disabilities across the country so they could come and discuss intensively the issues surrounding them in terms of HIV/AIDS vulnerability.
According to Shirley Keoagile, vice chairperson of BOFOD, the chief concerns amongst the disabled youth are those concerning lack of knowledge and reasonable accommodation on issues that affect the youth with disabilities, how to prevent HIV/AIDS, how to commit to zero lifestyle and take personal responsibility so as to avoid taking risks that could lead them to contracting the disease.
Youth with disabilities have a higher chance of contracting HIV/AIDS more than their abled counterparts.
According to claims made by some in the disabled community, youth with disabilities are not taken into consideration when government introduces the various HIV/AIDS projects currently running in the country today.
The vice chairperson continued to imply that communication strategies currently put in place to disseminate information and educate on HIV/AIDS and its prevention have, of late, excluded the needs of young people with disabilities.
“Realization to keep the promise and the human rights of people with disabilities in relation to HIV/AIDS is critical as much as is the theme for this year,” said Keoagile.
Shirley said the main objectives of the seminar were to reflect on the ‘Abstain Be faithful and Condomise (ABC)’ method of intervention challenges in regards to people with disabilities.
Also to advocate for the securing of resources necessary for youth with disabilities in the fight against the pandemic, these would include information distribution, and the likes.
It would also serve to provide and share experience, knowledge and solutions about problems facing youth with disabilities in the context of HIV/AIDS.