HIV Prevention Presentations

January 24th, 2016 by | Tags: , , | No Comments »

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Me presenting HIV Prevention to a disability group.

As I have discussed in previous blog posts, access to HIV education and services is a prominent issue in the disability community.  To help increase the willingness of persons with disabilities to talk openly and knowledgeably about HIV/AIDS in their groups, families and communities so that they can help each other prevent HIV/AIDS, I gave presentations on HIV Prevention to three disability groups last month.

I administered pre- and post-tests.  The goal of administering the tests was to identify their understanding of HIV transmission and whether or not they believe in certain myths. Thirty-four participants completed the pre- and post-tests.  27 scored 78% or higher on the post-test.  I’d like to note that five scored very poorly on the pre-test, scoring between 11 and 44%.  On the post-test, they achieved 78% or higher.

HIV Post-Test Results

While participants did demonstrate, both on the tests and during discussions, a good understanding of the fact that HIV is caused by sexual intercourse with HIV infected partners, sharing needles with HIV infected people and receiving blood transfusion with HIV infection, many still believed in some misconceptions.  About one-third (11) still believe that one can become infected by hugging and also about one-third (10) still believe that one can become infected by sharing clothes.

I have also found both on the tests and in discussions that many were not aware that breastfeeding can cause the transmission of HIV from mother to children and also during labor too.  For instance, when I asked at each presentation what are the causes of HIV, I always heard, “sexual intercourse,” “sharing needles,” and “blood transfusion.”  But breastfeeding and pregnancy labor was often left out.  One woman although at one group did mention breastfeeding.  Participants have also mentioned sharing razors and hair shavers as a cause but I had to clarify that HIV is transmitted only if there is blood on the razors or shavers and the blood comes in contact with a cut on the body.  One participant also mentioned accidents such as if one’s wound comes in contact with the wound of an HIV infected person.

Women with disabilities learn about HIV Prevention

Women with disabilities learn about HIV Prevention

Therefore, I will work on re-educating that HIV is NOT spread through sharing clothing or hugging at upcoming sexual reproductive health workshops which will be given to the same disability groups.  I also plan on giving the HIV Prevention presentations to at least two more disability groups and will try to articulate better that HIV is not transmitted through sharing clothes or hugging.

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