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Resource id #3 Disabled people more vulnerable to H.I.V. /A.I.D.S. says W.H.O. - Volume 6 Issue 1: Disability News and Information Service for India

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Volume 6 Issue 1 - June 15, 2009

Disabled people more vulnerable to H.I.V. /A.I.D.S. says W.H.O.

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: About 10 percent of the world’s population have a disability and just like any other person may engage in activities that put them at a risk of H.I.V. /A.I.D.S. infection. But unlike non disabled people, they have very limited access to H.I.V. education, information and prevention services. This was said in a recent podcast by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.).

This is because people with disabilities may be turned away from community H.I.V. education forums because of assumptions that they are not sexually active, or do not engage in other risky behaviour such as injecting drugs.

Dr Susan Girois, Director of Technical Resources Division of Handicap International in Lyon, France, feels that access is the key.

“Access to H.I.V. /A.I.D.S. treatment, care and support is difficult for people with either sensory impairment - like people with visual impairment or people who are hearing impaired - people who may have problems with physical mobility and other people who may have mental health conditions or who may have intellectual disability”, she adds.

Although sexual and reproductive health has become part of school curriculum in most countries, most children with disabilities are outside the ambit of mainstream education. Moreover, there is a lack of material in Braille format which leaves out people with visual impairment.

Studies have shown that a large percentage of persons with disabilities will experience sexual assault or abuse during their lifetime, with women and girls, persons with intellectual impairments and those in specialized institutions, schools or hospitals being at particularly high risk.

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