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HRSA Programs
The Deaf and Hard of Hearing and HIV/AIDS

July 2002

The American Social Health Association estimates that 28 million individuals in the United States are hearing impaired -- approximately 10 percent of the population. The deaf and hard of hearing exist within a unique and vibrant culture, a fact not fully appreciated by hearing individuals. Many advocates believe that recognition by the hearing public that a deaf culture exists is a crucial first step toward educating the Nation about the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing who are living with HIV disease.


Critical Issues

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing & the Ryan White CARE Act

Many organizations funded through the Ryan White CARE Act serve people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Additionally, the HIV/AIDS Bureau, which implements the CARE Act, has participated in several projects to promote improved services for this population.



  1. Office of HIV/AIDS Policy. Conference proceedings: National Meeting on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2000.
  2. Maryland HIV Prevention Community Planning Group. HIV Prevention Plan for the State of Maryland Calendar Years 2001-2003. Report prepared by the Social Work Community Outreach Service, University of Maryland School of Social Work. Baltimore, MD: Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, State of Maryland; 2000.
  3. Gaskins S. Special population: HIV/AIDS among the deaf and hard of hearing. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 1999; 10(2):75-8.
  4. Guthmann D. Counseling Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons With Substance Abuse and/or Mental Health Issues: Is Cross Cultural Counseling Possible? Minneapolis: Minnesota Chemical Dependency Program for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals; 2000. Available at:
  5. Peinkoffer JR. HIV education for the deaf, a vulnerable minority. Public Health Rep. 1994;109:390-6.

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