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HIV Community Spotlight

A Bridge of Understanding

Brett Gallini Offers a 'Helping Ear' for Hard-of-Hearing Clients

April 2000

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicable Disorders, more than 28 million Americans are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The Greater Los Angeles Council on Deafness has found that 2,000 people in L.A. County are deaf or hard of hearing and HIV positive.

For these 2,000 individuals, the need for information about HIV/AIDS is as critical as it is in the larger hearing community. Yet the deaf community has far fewer services tailored especially for them.

Deaf Services

Since 1997, case management services for the deaf have been provided in the HIV community, first at AIDS Education Services for the Deaf and currently at AIDS Project Los Angeles.

At APLA, case management services are provided under the direction of Brett Gallini. Currently, Gallini has about 30 people in his case load.

The needs of Gallini's clients vary. One of Gallini's clients, for example, wanted to attend traffic school but could not afford to hire an interpreter. Gallini put the client in touch with a traffic school for the deaf. He also helps clients find Section 8 housing, and other programs accessible to APLA clients.

Much of Gallini's time is spent communicating in sign language with doctors, dentists and others as deaf, HIV-positive individuals conduct daily activities that hearing individuals don't think twice about.

Ongoing Support

Hosting quarterly activities or luncheons and creating opportunities for social interaction among his clients is one of Gallini's goals at APLA.

He says he would also like to see more self-management on the part of his clients and have more of his clients working. Education on safe sex and safer sex is still a vital need.

For information on services for the deaf and hard of hearing, call (323) 993-1306.

This article has been reprinted at The Body with the permission of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).

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This article was provided by AIDS Project Los Angeles. It is a part of the publication Positive Living.
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