Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

HIV/AIDS and Deafness

Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

HIV/AIDS and Deafness

Article excerpt

The American Annals of the Deaf is constituted as both a "scientific" and a "professional" journal. As such, it addresses a range of issues from the theoretical to the applied, including matters of social concern. Many of the articles that appear in the Annals reflect areas of importance that can affect all of us regardless of hearing status, gender, race, or social class. One of the most threatening of these is the haunting specter of HIV infection and AIDS. In some quarters there is a feeling that we have turned the corner, because the number of diagnoses of AIDS has been declining. This is a serious misconception for many reasons. The virus that causes AIDS can remain dormant for years before symptoms appear. The price in human suffering will be tragic for years to come.

The price will be disproportionate for those in our population with insufficient or nonexistent knowledge of the various ways in which an individual may contract an HIV infection or how to prevent it. A population clearly at greater risk for exposure to the disease, as documented by articles in the Annals and elsewhere, may be found among deaf adolescents and young adults.

Within the past five years, the Annals has published three articles on AIDS (Baker-Duncan, Dancer, Gentry, Highly, & Gibson, 1997; Deyo, 1994; Luckner & Gonzales, 1993). These articles document a grim reality. To an even greater extent than in the general population, young deaf Americans exhibit what Luckner and Gonzales termed a disturbing gap in their knowledge of HIV infection, how AIDS is transmitted and prevented and who can acquire the disease. …

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