Disabled people in Botswana have been largely excluded from the country's HIV/AIDS efforts, disability advocates said at a recent two-day workshop, Botswana's Mmegi reports. According to speakers at the workshop, it is unfortunate that some people in Botswana claim that there have been successes in the fight against HIV/AIDS without mentioning young people living with disabilities.
Speaking at the workshop, Shirely Keoagile of the Botswana National Association of the Deaf said that although some people say HIV/AIDS rates in Botswana are declining, people with disabilities have not been reached. Keoagile said the country's laws and HIV/AIDS intervention strategies address the problems of nondisabled people, adding that Botswana's response to HIV/AIDS is not serving people with disabilities. "We cannot make significant progress on national AIDS statistics unless government and community efforts better respond to the needs of people with disabilities," Keoagile said. She called for a comprehensive national strategy to address the problem, as well as for people with disabilities to speak out about the issue. People with disabilities need "to wake up and rise and tell our government about our rights and concerns," Keoagile said.
The workshop, themed "Commit to Zero Transmission Lifestyles: Youth With Disabilities Leading by Keeping the Promise to Stop AIDS," was organized by the Botswana National Youth Council and attended by people with disabilities and other advocates (Setshogo, Mmegi, 4/17).
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