Anova-GALA Partnership Develops Innovative HIV Awareness Resource for Deaf South Africans. 3/12/12

MEDIA ADVISORY: Anova Health Institute and Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA) have collaborated to produce a first-of-its-kind resource that promotes HIV awareness among Deaf South Africans.

Anova Health

Under the banner of the See it! Sign it! Know it! Share it! initiative, the Deaf digital stories project aims to promote HIV awareness among Deaf people in a creative  and accessible way.

According to Deaf Project Officer Cherae Halley, the Deaf community is at increased risk of HIV infection for a number of reasons.

“Low levels of knowledge around HIV because of failures in Deaf education and a healthcare system that does not cater to the unique needs of the Deaf community are some of the major stumbling blocks to HIV prevention and treatment among the Deaf public,” said Halley.

Halley says little has been done to address HIV as it affects Deaf South Africans, despite HIV prevalence among people with disabilities being alarmingly high at 14.1 per cent. Such statistics support the overwhelming need for targeted interventions such as the Deaf digital stories project.

The digital stories manual and DVD pack is a tool for facilitating workshops in which Deaf people can easily access accurate information on HIV, sexuality and human rights.

The personal stories of eight Deaf peer educators captured on the DVD are used in conjunction with the manual to tackle a variety of topics, including educational and information barriers, HIV-related stigma, gender, sexuality, drug and alcohol abuse, and communication difficulties.

Anova Health Institute’s Chief Operating Officer Helen Struthers agrees that this resource is an important first step in addressing knowledge gaps within the Deaf community.  

“Anova is excited to be partnering with GALA to pioneer desperately needed HIV awareness and education materials, which are tailored to this vulnerable group,” she said.

For information about GALA’s Deaf HIV/AIDS awareness project, please contact Cherae Halley on +27 11 717 4239 or deafhivproject@gmail.com.

For general media enquiries, please contact John Marnell on +27 11 717 4239 or john.marnell@wits.ac.za.

To order See it! Sign it! Know it! Share it! Email: deafhivproject@gmail.com.

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