English, Fake News

No credible evidence to prove that the WHO is classifying people with no sexual partner as disabled.


A photo of a newspaper article titled ‘Failure to find sexual partner now a disability-WHO’ is doing the rounds of social media. The lead of this article reads, ‘People who do not have sex or struggle to find a sexual partner to have children will now be considered disabled.’ Let’s verify this claim through this article.

Calim: In their new guidelines, the Word Health Organisation(WHO) is set to classify a person who is unable to find a sexual partner as disabled. 

Fact: WHO has not made any official statement regarding this. This is an old hoax. In the past, when such a rumour went viral on the internet, WHO clarified that it was not true. Hence, the claim made in the viral post is False.

To check the veracity of the viral claim, we first searched the internet with relevant keywords but could not find authentic information that validates this claim. After checking their official website and social media handles (here and here), we learned that the WHO has not released any official statement announcing the new guidelines to classify a person unable to find a sexual partner as disabled. 

Additionally, we learned that the rumour that the WHO is going to bring in such guidelines started in 2016. To verify this piece of information, the fact-checking organisation Africa Fact-Check contacted the WHO for comment; a spokesperson denied these reports and said, “No, it’s not true.”

According to the WHO, Disability is ‘part of being human’, and they state that ‘Disability results from the interaction between individuals with a health condition, such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and depression, with personal and environmental factors including negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social support.’  Also, WHO’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health puts Disability as an umbrella term for  ‘impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.’ WHO has nowhere in their write-ups related to Disability identified a person who is unable to find a sexual partner as disabled. 

The WHO defines infertility (also here) as ‘ a disease of the male or female reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.’

The 2016 articles which started this rumour that the WHO would consider the inability to find a sexual partner would be considered as a disability mentioned that this would change the definition of ‘Infertility’, but as we stated earlier, the definition of infertility does not include such people.

In 2019, the AFP Fact-Check wrote a fact-check article regarding this claim in which they mentioned their correspondence with a representative of WHO who told them that the WHO has no plans to change the definition of infertility, which they asserted in 2016, too. 

To sum up, the WHO has not come up with new guidelines that classify a person who is unable to find a sexual partner as disabled. 


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