HIV report revealsshocking findings

2017-12-14 06:01
PHOTO: ANDILE SITHOLEA pastor (left) leads the prayer while Nonhlanhla Mkhize (middle), Meshack Hadebe and government officials hold their candles to commemorate World Aids Day.

PHOTO: ANDILE SITHOLEA pastor (left) leads the prayer while Nonhlanhla Mkhize (middle), Meshack Hadebe and government officials hold their candles to commemorate World Aids Day.

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ABOUT 60% of disabled men and women in South Africa are HIV positive.
This emerged at a sitting of the Parliament for People with Disabilities at the Tongaat Indoor Sports Centre on World Aids Day on Friday, December 1.

HIV/Aids directorate Phindile Xulu said a survey conducted in 2014 in South Africa showed an increase in the number of HIV-infected people with disabilities.

In her presentation Xulu said there was a double stigma associated with HIV/Aids and disability.

“Once a disabled person becomes HIV- positive, they are sidelined in the community. People say things that have negative connotations to them.

“We want to talk to researchers who are conducting research on HIV/Aids to enable us understand the ratio of infected people with disabilities.

“We have also noted that black disabled people don’t have access to basic services.”

Attending the sitting were eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, former KZN Agriculture MEC Meshack Hadebe, officials from office of the premier, representatives from HIV/Aids organisations and other dignitaries.

Gumede appealed to the community to support disabled people and assured residents that disabled people will get job opportunities in government departments.

Another speaker, director general Nonhlanhla Mkhize said the office of the premier compiled a report on people with disabilities.

“The office of the premier is reviewing employment equity so that all disabled people have access to basic services.

“Disabled people are not being represented in war rooms.”

Mkhize said the premier’s office was also concerned about certain officials in government departments who are not trained to accept disabled people as ordinary human beings.

According to the report, all government departments will have to provide a plan showing how they intend to meet the new employment quota of seven percent for people with disabilities by end of 2017/2018 financial year.

“All programmes embarked upon within the departments such as internships, leaderships, take a girl and boy child to work, external bursary initiatives should include youth with disabilities.

“The head of the department must hunt for qualified PWDs through academic institutions and disability organisations and place into appropriate trainee rank programs,” report says.

The 60-page report says all government departments must report to the office of the premier on the positions that are occupied by people with disabilities.

According to the report, the SAPS indicated that people with disabilities are targets of rape and the perpetrators are not
arrested because the victims
are unable to express themselves because of their disability.

The report states that a “project plan will be completed for the next financial year to educate the community including people with disability to report all cases of rape”.

Another matter tabled for discussion was the issue of stereotypes attached to albinism. Mkhize said a dedicated team has been formed to investigate these cases.

The report also indicated that people with disabilities come across “many challenges when visiting health care institutions”.

A report submitted by organisations representing the disabled said government departments must put in a place a policy that will ensure the people with disabilities do not stand in long queues.

In a report organisations said: “The health department and Sassa and
Department of Social Development
must work hand in hand to ensure
that all disabled people receive their grants.

“The department must conduct awareness campaigns that educates the government employees on how people with disabilities should be treated in health care facilities.”

The sitting of Parliament was conducted concurrently with the World Aids Day events that are being held every year in many parts of the world to unite in a fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and commemorate those who have died from HIV/Aids-related illness.

Survey conducted in 2014 showed an increase in the number of HIV-infected people with disabilities

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