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Persons with Disabilities

One person in ten—as many as 600 million people worldwide—live with a physical, sensory (deafness, blindness), intellectual, or mental health impairment significant enough to make a difference in their daily lives.(1 Little data are available on the prevalence of HIV infection among people with disabilities other than anecdotal reports.

Too often, individuals with disability have not been included in HIV prevention and AIDS outreach efforts because it is assumed that they are not sexually active and at little or no risk for HIV infection. However, individuals with disability have equal or greater exposure to all known risk factors for HIV infection. For example, adolescents and adults with disability are as likely as their non-disabled peers to be sexually active. Homosexuality and bisexuality appear to occur at the same rate among individuals with disability as among the non-disabled. Individuals with disability are as likely as non-disabled people to use drugs and alcohol.(2) Men and women with disabilities are even more likely to be victims of violence or rape, although they are less likely to be able to obtain police intervention, legal protection or prophylactic care.(3)


Featured Links

Empowerment, Not Pity: HIV Prevention Programs for People with Disabilities
Health education on HIV, STDs, and other diseases and illnesses in American Sign Language for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities

POP (Guys): Protecting the Disability Community (2009) (HIV prevention video for people with disabilities)
From Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital

HIV/AIDS: Disability, HIV Find Common Ground
From the UN’s IRIN

Promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health for Persons with Disabilities
From the World Health Organization

HIV/AIDS & Disability Global Survey (PDF)
From Yale University/World Bank

Sexual Education Resources Available at the Center for Disability Resources Library
From Univ. of South Carolina

1UN 1993 cited by World Bank in Disability and AIDS
2UNICEF 1999 cited by World Bank in Disability and AIDS
3Groce and Trasi 2004 cited by World Bank in Disability and AIDS

Page Last Updated: April 12, 2013

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