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Deafness and HIV/AIDS: a systematic review of the literature

Jill Hanass-Hancock
Loveness Satande


A systematic review of the literature focused on empirical work on deafness and HIV/AIDS published during the past decade. The review reveals that deaf people are vulnerable to contracting HIV and might lack access to HIV/AIDS information, testing and treatment. Three studies that were located through this review included prevalence data on disability and HIV. These indicated that deaf people are as likely, if not twice as likely, to be infected with HIV. The data also reveal that although some research has focused on HIV/AIDS knowledge among deaf people, this might not be the main area of concern in relation to HIV risk for this population. The available research more often points to increased instances of multiple partners, sexual abuse and earlier sexual debut, and, in some contexts, decreased use of condoms. These factors might explain increased risk of HIV infection for the deaf population. Additionally, the review elaborates on the geographical and methodological focuses of past research and identifies gaps, strengths and weaknesses in this body of literature.

Keywords: disabilities; health knowledge; HIV prevention; risk identification; southern Africa

African Journal of AIDS Research 2010, 9(2): 187–192

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445