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Africa: We Have Penises! We Have Vaginas!


#Aids2016 is going down in Durban, South Africa.


In The staid lobby of the Durban Global Convention Centre, a woman in a wheelchair is shouting: “I’ve a penis! I’ve a vagina! I’ve sex!” Stella Iwuagwu, 47, from Lagos, is attempting to animate a gaggle of incapacity protesters standing politely with their placards standing a wall. “It’s a silent protest,” replies one. They’re attempting to draw attention to how the AIDS 2016 Convention excludes disabled Folks. Lots Of The protesters have some type of incapacity But not all are HIV positive.

Silence is Needless, shouts Stella, frustrated. “For Those Who don’t make a noise, they won’t notice you.”

A Few Of them absorb her cry and one follows up with: “I Am disabled. I masturbate!” Useless! cries Stella once more. “Nobody is serious about masturbation. That’s intercourse with your self. It Is protected intercourse.”

Stella’s passion for the rights of the HIV-sure disabled emerges from her own experience. In 2007, she had again to Nigeria from the usa the place she was once doing a PhD on the sexual and reproductive rights of women dwelling with HIV, to do research. A automobile accident left her paralysed from the chest down.

“Prior To I changed into disabled, I wasn’t serious about this population. However a variety of things I took without any consideration once I walked round in my high heels, I’m now seeing certainly and I Need other folks to see that,” says. “People in wheelchairs are invisible. Even with my level of schooling, it’s important to overcome boundaries that other people can not even imagine.”

Stella now lives in Lagos, where she is government director of the Centre for the appropriate to Health.

“I learned that HIV prevention interventions have forgotten we exist. There seems to be this perception that people with disabilities are voiceless and asexual.

But Individuals with disabilities have vaginas and penises and wishes and so they have interaction in intercourse, every now and then unprotected intercourse as a result of they do not have access to preventative measures or details about the necessity for prevention.

“In a developing united states of america, you usually need to go to a chemist to purchase condoms. How do you get there when most chemists aren’t available? If a teenager lady is visually impaired, how does she learn a flyer telling her about HIV?

“In The early days of my disability I had quite a lot of questions no one could solution. I saw more than seven doctors. I had scans of my bones and bladder However no person requested me about my sexuality. Eventually I requested my psychiatrist: why does No One care about my sexuality?

“He said: ‘Oh, It Can Be usually handiest the lads who care about sexuality.’ I was once doubly offended. So, even this was once gendered! They care concerning the penis. Is it working? Are there operations to make it work again? However what occurs to the forgotten hole – the vagina? It Isn’t Important whether you’re feeling it or now not, just stick it in there!”

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