Practice Issues in Sexuality and Learning Disabilities

By Ann Craft | Go to book overview

10

HIV/AIDS and safer sex work with people with learning disabilities

Michelle McCarthy and David Thompson


THE AIDS AWARENESS/SEX EDUCATION PROJECT

This chapter reports on the work of the authors through the AIDS Awareness/Sex Education Project, which carries out safer sex work with people with learning disabilities. It describes some of the major issues that arise out of that work.

The AIDS Awareness/Sex Education Project was set up in 1989 from funds made available by the Department of Health for HIV prevention work. The project's brief was to develop sex education and HIV work with the residents of three large hospitals for people with learning disabilities, with a population of 1,600, in Hertfordshire (now the Horizon NHS Trust).

The project has also worked to a lesser extent with staff and people with learning disabilities in community settings and this chapter is based on that combined experience.

The team has three full-time staff and its work can be divided into the following areas:


Individual work

This entails working on a one-to-one basis with people with learning disabilities. It is important to state that this work is dominated by referrals concerning sexual abuse: both of women and men who have experienced, or who continue to experience, abuse and of men with learning disabilities who sexually abuse others. Individual work takes the pattern of weekly sessions over the medium term, that is from two to eight months.

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