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International News

Kenya: Shocking Revelations on HIV/AIDS and Deaf Children

August 29, 2002

Deaf children in Kenya are lacking access to information regarding HIV/AIDS. The Kenya Society for Deaf Children (KSDC) says there are no trained personnel in the country to sensitize deaf persons to the dangers posed by AIDS. KSDC Director Ogutu Adera said no effort has been made to produce training documents or information materials targeting the deaf on health issues, particularly HIV/AIDS.

"No specific resources have been set aside to equip the deaf with basic preventive health and HIV/AIDS information, including home-based care for those affected or infected," said Adera. KSDC says that due to the lack of sign language interpretation services in news broadcasts and advertisements as well as messages on health, the deaf lack the capacity to operate at the level of the rest of society. Adera said that although there has been no survey done to establish the exact number of the deaf who have either contracted or died of HIV/AIDS, the government needs to intervene by availing more resources. Adera added that most medical personnel lack basic communication skills to handle deaf persons seeking their attention.

Adera said cases of sexual abuse involving deaf girls and women are rampant in schools and places of employment. "The hearing persons take advantage of the deaf to sexually molest and exploit them. The culprits tend to go scot-free due to lack of awareness by police, law courts and other relevant authorities that could deal with such cases. Statistics indicate that there are about 300,000 severe to profoundly deaf persons in the country." The National AIDS Control Council (NACC) says that out of a population of 30 million, 2.5 million Kenyans are already infected with HIV/AIDS. NACC says the most affected are the 15- to 24-year-olds, whose life expectancy has fallen from 65 years to just 45.

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Adapted from:
Africa News Service
08.24.02; East African Standard

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More News on HIV/AIDS in Kenya