Perceptions of educators of Deaf and hard-of-hearing adolescents of HIV-risk factors for these youths

  • Sumaya Mall
  • Leslie Swartz

Abstract

Like the general population in South Africa, adolescents with deafness or who are hard-of-hearing may be vulnerable to HIV infection. They are exposed to all known risk factors for HIV infection. Educators who work in schools for Deaf (meaning culturally deaf) and hard-of-hearing adolescents can provide valuable information about HIV-risk factors for these youths. We conducted 21 in-depth interviews and two focus group discussions with educators of Deaf and hard-of-hearing adolescents in six schools in two provinces of South Africa. We explored the participants’ perceptions of the HIV-risk factors to which their learners are exposed. The educators were aware of the adolescents’ vulnerability to HIV infection. All the participants believed that Deaf and hard-of-hearing adolescents are at risk of contracting HIV due to vulnerability to sexual abuse and higher-risk sexual behaviour. The participants were aware of substance abuse patterns, such as excessive alcohol use or recreational drug use, among their learners. Adolescence is a vulnerable period, and adolescents who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing are likewise exposed to the risk of HIV infection.

Keywords: disability research, HIV prevention, risk behaviour, schools for the deaf, sexual behaviour, South Africa

African Journal of AIDS Research 2012, 11(4): 343–348

Author Biographies

Sumaya Mall
Stellenbosch University, Department of Psychology, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Leslie Swartz
Stellenbosch University, Department of Psychology, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Published
2013-01-11
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445