By Gabriel Olawale
The Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State AIDS Control Agency, LSACA, Dr. Monsurat Adeleke has admonished members of the hearing and visually impaired people otherwise referred to as the Deaf and Blind communities in Lagos State to always protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.
Making this appeal during a sensitization programme for Deaf and Blind communities in Lagos State, Adeleke disclosed that the hearing and visually impaired people do have unprotected sex with one another.
“The hearing community took advantage of the poverty in the country and among the deaf women and girls to lure them into having unprotected sex with them which further exposed them to the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS
“Stigmatization is one of the major challenges among the hearing community and this could be better imagined among the deaf and the blind communities that found it difficult to seek medical, legal and social support in combating their health challenges thereby resorting to self-help which further enhanced their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS infection.
“Low self-esteem, lack of appropriate legal framework made lots of the deaf and the blind women silently endure dehumanizing conditions of sexual and domestic violence without no course for redress hence the need for the program, she stated
According to her, the innovation and dynamism associated with Mr. Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu ‘s government drive for an all-inclusive governance which was in tandem with UNAIDS 90-90-90 initiative meant that: 90 per cent of the people living with HIV must know their HIV status, 90 per cent of those that know their status must have access to Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and 90 per cent of those on ART must have viral load suppression and would not be able to infect others made the Agency conduct Free HIV Testing Services (HTS) for willing members of the communities for early detection and treatment
Adeleke explained that the Agency collaborated with Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs, LASODA, Deaf Access Enterprise, Deaf Supporters Development Association among others to own the program. Participants were drawn from the 57 LGA/LCDAs of the state for better coverage.