Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Ken Williams


Effective and appropriate communication strategies have proved beneficial in mitigating the impact of HIV/AIDS. Previous studies have found the use of mass media, particularly radio, to be most effective in reaching out to the general population and raising awareness. Although effective, messages transmitted through radio are not received by the deaf and therefore excludes this part of the population as do other forms of mass media. With limited resources for obtaining information this paper asked the question: Have HIV/AIDS service providers further marginalized the deaf community in terms of HIV/AIDS information sharing and health services?

To understand the obstacles faced by health care professionals and the degree to which the deaf community is adequately able to express themselves two data collection methods: a questionnaire and focus group discussions, were used. A literature review of previous research on how health care workers interact with deaf patients and disability and HIV/AIDS was also conducted.

Findings reveal limited to no participation, on the part of the deaf, in national annual events such as World AIDS Day, Candlelight Memorial, and VCT Week. To overcome communication challenges hospital staff said they will write the information, given that the patient is literate. However despite being able to read and write deaf participants in this study repeatedly said that they could not always understand what was written or that that hospital staff did not give enough information. Hospital staff also found guardians to be beneficial in assisting in the interpretation messages, making their jobs easier, while the deaf youth in this study felt their presence interfered with their right to keep certain information confidential.


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Family, Life Course, and Society | Health Services Administration | Inequality and Stratification | International Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Social Welfare


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