Mitigating the Impact of HIV & AIDS on People with Disabilities through Equitable Information Dissemination

David D Chakuchichi, Miriam Chitura, Esther Gandari

Abstract


The study sought to investigate equity and access to HIV & AIDS information dissemination
to people with disabilities. Information dissemination was viewed as the strongest strategy of
mitigating the impact of the HIV & AIDS pandemic. The impetus of the study stems from the
apparent absence of literature and media images that incorporate the HIV & AIDS information
needs of people with disability especially the deaf and the blind. WHO 1998, global survey on
disability and HIV & AIDS showed that people with disabilities have an equal or greater exposure
to all risk factors for HIV infection. The qualitative study used four focus group discussions’ (FGD)
strategy to obtain data from four samples of young people with the following disabilities, deaf, blind,
mental retardation and physical disability. The findings indicated the HIV & AIDS information in
the media is inconsistent with the information needs of people with disabilities especially those
who are blind and deaf. Deaf young people receive incorrect information from the media. On the
other hand blind people too do not access critical information on HIV & AIDS. While people with
disabilities are equally exposed to HIV & AIDS, they do not receive the requisite information to
reduce and mitigate the impact of the scourge. There is therefore a need to make available HIV &
AIDS information in modalities that are compatible with the information acquisition dispositions
of people with disabilities.

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