By Samwel Doe Ouma@samweldoe
HIV Aids and Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) matters are rarely discussed at home with culturally biases dictating that SRH subject as a taboo that shouldn’t be discussed especially with adolescents youths living with disabilities as they are perceived as not sexually active, a study has revealed.
According to a study done by Gifted Community Centre (GCC) in support with LVCT to determine uptake of HIV AIDS, Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) and Gender Based Violence (GBV) services amongst adolescents and youth with disabilities in the 13 villages of Kibera, due to lack of training and awareness on disability issues amongst community members there are negative attitudes towards Adolescents Youths With Disabilities (AYWD) in accessing HIV, SRH & GBV services which remains a major hindrance to their equal and full participation in society.
“Parents do not want to give their disabled children time to access HIV and Sexual and Reproductive health information, maybe because they feel it is not the right time to do so or they don’t need it, but the study finds out that this group needs lots of counseling and guidance from both home and outside the home,” the study reads in part.
Stigma and discrimination are still very common against adolescents and youths with disabilities in terms of accessing or needing community support to access these services.
The study also reveals that 96 percent of adolescents youths with disability (AYWD) are more vulnerable and therefore at risk of being sexually violated and abused, relative to the able-bodied adolescents and youth with disabilities.
“Girls with mental disability who appear to be friendly (but are often) unaware of their surroundings are more likely to suffer sexual abuse”.
The report cites nature of disability itself which tends to predispose them to be defenseless such as inability to see and or recognize the violator, inability to communicate and or report and lack of lack protection to be the major causes for the violation.
The report titled ‘uptake of HIV, SRH and GBV services among adolescents and young people with disabilities in Kibera’ was conducted between August and September 2021.
“When it comes to emotional abuse, it is the parents, relatives and the community in general that are the perpetrators. But when it is sexual abuse, it is the neighbors and sometimes relatives who are the culprits,” the study says in part.