Double exposure : disability and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa

SWEENEY, Jacinta
Publication Date 
2004
44 p

This paper argues that the situation regarding disability and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is in need of more attention. People with various disabilities are more exposed to contracting HIV/AIDS: firstly, because they are deprived of their right to HIV/AIDS information; secondly, because disabled women in particular are sexually exploited due to society’s paralleling of disability with worthlessness. Fundamentally, people with disabilities are further exposed to HIV/AIDS because they are socially excluded. The paper uses the social exclusion framework to argue that there is a need to view social exclusion, disability and HIV/AIDS as part of a relationship. It reviews the debate of definitions of disability and presents various scenarios that illustrate the overlap between poverty and disability, the inaccessibility of HIV/AIDS information, education and communication (IEC) and attitudinal discrimination towards disabled people. The response of some key donors, governments and non-governmental organisations to the situation regarding disability and HIV/AIDS is also reviewed. The paper concludes that the social exclusion framework is useful in order to understand the conceptualisation of disability and that this conceptualisation must be adapted to the social model, which removes the onus of disability from the person to society

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