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Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus Information: The Challenges of Hearing-Impaired Adolescents in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

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Adolescents with hearing impairments have similar sexual risk exposures as their hearing counterparts, yet their sexual information needs are often ignored. This paper examines the disparities in information about the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) infection among hearing and hearing-impaired adolescents in Port Harcourt, Nigeria using a comparative cross-sectional survey design. Results showed that awareness about HIV was significantly lower among hearing-impaired adolescents. Most of them did not even know how HIV was transmitted, while many believed that HIV was transmitted through mosquito bites or by eating together or sharing utensils. Only a few understood that unprotected sex was a major risk factor for HIV transmission. Similarly, most of them did not know how HIV could be prevented. Their HIV risk perception for was equally low as only a third had ever tested for HIV compared to two-thirds of their hearing counterparts. The results of the study suggests that significant differences in HIV information and knowledge exists between hearing and hearing-impaired adolescents in Nigeria. The gap is attributed to lack of sexuality and HIV-specific education for adolescents with disabilities, thus unduly exposing them to avoidable HIV risk. It is therefore crucial for adaptation of disability friendly learning strategies that forms an integral part of the Family Life and HIV and AIDS Education curriculum. Equally important is special training for sign language teachers in order to correctly interpret HIV and AIDS information to adolescents using the sign language grammar, syntaxes and communication concepts.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Charles Tobin-West.

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Tobin-West, C., Akani, Y. Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus Information: The Challenges of Hearing-Impaired Adolescents in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Sex Disabil 32, 299–309 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11195-014-9362-8

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  • Hearing impairment
  • Adolescents
  • Nigeria