Saturday, June 06, 2009

Government resources on Deaf HIV/AIDS

Websites from the US Department of Health and Human Services on HIV/AIDS and the Deaf community.

August 2008 fact summary sheet:

Fact sheet in PDF form:

April 2001 Newsletter reporting on Fall 2000 meeting on HIV/AIDS and the Deaf Community

Monday, June 01, 2009

Spreading the word on HIV/AIDS and the Deaf Community

I am currently working on a project to write to 100 government officials about the issue of HIV/AIDS and Deaf people. One problem I am coming across is that congress people only accept letters from people in their district. Would anyone be willing to co-sign a letter similar to the one posted below highlighting some of the major issues? If you are willing, please drop me an e-mail at hivdeaf AT gmail DOT com

Dear Senator X:

We would like to thank you for your on-going support for services and resources for people with HIV/AIDS, particularly for underserved rural people. Your support has saved lives and improved care for AIDS patients across the state and the nation. We would, however, like to draw your attention to another major underserved population, Deaf people. While deafness is relatively rare, Deaf people have been disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS.

One major problem is that there are no national statistics on infection or mortality rates for Deaf people. The one source that we do have on HIV statistics in the Deaf population is from public testing sites in Maryland, which records the hearing status of people being tested. Between 2003 ad 2007, Deaf people were twice as likely to test HIV+ as their hearing counterparts (the range was 1.9 to 2.9 times higher). African American Deaf people have been particularly hard hit with a prevalence of above 6%, rivalling the rates of hard hit African and Caribbean nations.

Given that the Senate and the House of Representatives will be rethinking the American healthcare system in the coming months and years, we ask for your support for including Deaf people in the discussion. Important steps to narrowing the gap between Deaf people and the general population would include:

• Tracking the HIV epidemic in the Deaf population (something not currently done by the Centers for Disease Control or any other national organization).
• Emphasizing that all AIDS service organizations (ASO) must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and make their services available to all people with disabilities including Deaf people, and making funds available to help with the provision of qualified interpreters and interpreting services.
• Supporting the use of the latest technology by ASO and other community organizations to provide video interpreting when live interpreting is not possible.
• Supporting small Deaf oriented community organizations that provide invaluable educational outreach services for the general Deaf population and support services for those diagnosed with HIV. Many of these organizations have had their funding reduced or cut in the past few years and it will take considerable effort to rebuild a Deaf-oriented safety net.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this issue and we would be happy to provide you with further information and details.
Sincerely yours,

Leila Monaghan, PhD
Frison Visiting Scholar
Department of Anthropology
University of Wyoming