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Disabil Rehabil. 2007 Mar 15;29(5):367-71.

HIV/AIDS and disability: differences in HIV/AIDS knowledge between deaf and hearing people in Nigeria.

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Global Health Division, Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.



Studies both in North America and Europe have found that deaf individuals lack access to AIDS information, due to problems in communication, low literacy and tightly woven social networks within the deaf community. However few comparable studies are available from countries in the Developing World. The present study was undertaken in Nigeria where there is an estimated adult HIV prevalence rate of 5.4%. We sought to compare HIV knowledge among deaf and hearing individuals in order to identify how effectively deaf members of the community are being reached by HIV/AIDS messages.


A survey comparing knowledge about HIV/AIDS among deaf and hard of hearing adolescents (n = 50) and young adults (n = 50) was undertaken.


Significant differences (p < 0.05) in levels of understanding about certain aspects of how AIDS is spread were identified as well as differences in available resources for access to accurate information among deaf members of the population.


These findings from Nigeria speak strongly to the need for the development of interventions that include people with disabilities in public health and HIV/AIDS strategies and that address their specific vulnerabilities. Evaluating the adaptation of education material and the inclusion of the deaf population in HIV awareness programmes is an urgent 'next step.'

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