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


Blogger Deaf Cinema said...


thank you for doing this and sharing it with us

Keep us posted

NTID/RIT produced a Deaf ASL HIV/AIDS educational video that is still in use even though a bit dated

if ud like a copy - let me know



5:58 AM  
Blogger Leila Monaghan said...

Hi Patty, many thanks for your note on my hivdeaf blog. I would love to see the NTID ASL AIDS movie. Is there any way we could get it on You Tube? I would happily post it or a link to it on my blog, and anything else that you might have on Deaf AIDS issues.

I've always thought that a Deaf ASL Video Contest would be a great thing. Hmm...maybe I'll start one!

all best,


2:33 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...


1 in 4 sexually active teenagers become infected with an STD every year, in the United States alone. Now, more than ever, we need to join together to fight this growing issue. As I read through your website, it is clear that you share the same passion for STD/STI awareness. We here, at, understand the importance of STD/STI prevention and treatments. If you could, please list us as a resource or host our social book mark button, it would be much appreciated. We can not reach every teenager, but together we can try.
If you need more information please email me with the sublect line as your URL.

Thank you,
Sharon Vegoe

8:30 PM  

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