Prevalence of HIV among people with physical disabilities in Rwanda
Objective: To determine the prevalence of HIV among persons with physical disabilities in Rwanda.
Design: Across-sectional HIV diagnostic study.
Setting: A national referral rehabilitation centre in Rwanda.
Subjects: Persons aged 5 to 49 years with lower or upper limb impairments that were obtaining rehabilitation services at the centre.
Intervention: Blood samples were collected from the subjects who voluntarily accepted to participate in the study. Blood samples (4mls) were collected in vacutainer tubes and centrifuged to obtain serum which was analyzed using standard HIV rapid tests-determine HIV-1/2 Ab/Ag, SD-Bioline and UNI-Gold Recombigen HIV as a tie-breaker.
Main Outcome Measures: The HIV status of participants - negative or positive. Descriptive statistics were computed to characterize the sample and proportions for the HIV test results.
Results: All one hundred and fifty-seven subjects, 59 (37.6%) male and 98 (62.4%) female, completed the study. The HIV prevalence obtained was 5.73%. All participants that tested positive were female and all tested positive for HIV-1.
Conclusion: The prevalence obtained was higher than the population prevalence of 3.0% reported for Rwanda. Targeted HIV prevention is required for PWDs in Rwanda, with at least as much rigor as programs targeted towards the general population. Further, this should address the wide range of gender inequalities that make women particularly vulnerable to HIV. Further research needs to be conducted on a larger sample that draws participants from non-institutional settings and from other disability categories; as well as to study more specifically, the risk factors for HIV infection among PWDs in Rwanda.