HIV issues and people with disabilities: A review and agenda for research

et al

Publication Date 

January 2013

The AIDS and Disability Partners Forum at the UN General Assembly High Level Meetings on AIDS in New York in June 2011 and the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC in July 2012 underscore the attention to the impact of HIV and AIDS on persons with disabilities. However, research on AIDS and disability, particularly a solid evidence base upon which to build policy and programming remains thin, scattered and difficult to access. In this review paper, we summarise what is known about the intersection between HIV and AIDS and disability, paying particular attention to the small but emerging body of epidemiology data on the prevalence of HIV for people with disabilities, as well as the increasing understanding of HIV risk factors for people with disabilities. We find that the number of papers in the peer-reviewed literature remains distressingly small. Over the past 20 years an average of 5 articles on some aspect of disability and HIV and AIDS were published annually in the peer-reviewed literature from 1990 to 2000, increasing slightly to an average of 6 per year from 2000 to 2010. Given the vast amount of research around HIV and AIDS and the thousands of articles on the subject published in the peer-reviewed literature annually, the continuing lack of attention to HIV and AIDS among this at risk population, now estimated to make up 15% of the world's population, is striking. However, the statistics, while too limited at this point to make definitive conclusions, increasingly suggest at least an equal HIV prevalence rate for people with disabilities as for their non-disabled peers.


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