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Rapists target disabled women in Zimbabwe for Aids cure
Panafrican News Agency (PANA)
January 24, 2005

Harare, Zimbabwe - A group representing disabled women in Zimbabwe said Monday its members were being frequently targeted by rapists in the belief that having sex with the women would cure the men of HIV/AIDS.

Constance Sibanda, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women with Disabilities in Development, appealed to authorities to launch a national campaign to dispel the myth to save the lives of disabled women.

"Able bodied persons hold this rather pathetic belief that if an HIV/AIDS person makes love to a disabled person, he can be cured of the disease," she said. "This makes us suffer from double stigmatisation, being disabled and being HIV-positive."

Such bizarre beliefs are widespread in Zimbabwe, including the notion that sex with infants and virgins can cure HIV/AIDS.

Sibanda said the number of disabled women rape victims was on the increase, and so were their HIV infection rates. According to her, some 10 percent of women living with HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe are disabled, and the majority contracted the disease through rape.

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