Although the term “disabilities” includes a vast range of physical, developmental, intellectual and other conditions, people with disabilities commonly experience some of the same issues. For example, people with disabilities are at greater risk for emotional, sexual and physical violence and, as a result, HIV exposure.
Sexual education is often inaccessible for people with disabilities. Educational materials aren’t always available in Braille for people who are blind or through sign language for people who are deaf. Everyday necessities, such as elevators for people with mobility issues, like Yolanda Santana and Nick Melloan-Ruiz, are not always easy—or safe—to access.
People with disabilities often experience economic disadvantages. The labor market can be challenging, leading to lower household incomes, less insurance coverage and, therefore, more out-of-pocket expenses and less reliable medical information.
All aspects of HIV prevention and care must be accessible to everyone. Here are five ways to support inclusion:
- Provide equal access to HIV programs and services;
- Implement disability-inclusive policies and programs;
- Include people with disabilities in leadership and decision-making roles;
- Adapt the workplace for people living with HIV and other disabilities;
- Conduct research to inform disability-inclusive policies and programs.