The study used qualitative research methods to examine cultural beliefs, specifically those that are spiritual, as well as gender-related norms to explicate HIV/AIDS risk behaviors among deaf persons residing in rural and peri-urban areas of Kwa Zulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Existing findings, though limited, suggest that there are insufficient understandings among deaf South Africans about HIV/AIDS. While the deaf population exceeds 4 million, they are among the least educated, most illiterate, and least employed, and experience higher rates of poverty. These are all factors that may contribute to a greater incidence of HIV infection; however, there is a dearth of research that investigates risk behaviors for HIV/AIDS or contributes to the development of preventative measures for South Africa's deaf community. Research findings associated with hearing South Africans suggests that behavior is guided by several factors: cultural beliefs, level of poverty, and gender differences. This study using focus groups identified similar factors that may influence the behavior of the South African deaf community. Focus group discussions with deaf individuals (n= 8) are used to examine issues related to culture, traditional spiritual practices, gender norms, and poverty that increase the risks of HIV/AIDS. Data was analyzed using ethnographic methods and organized in a format that identified themes associated with each of the variables. Throughout the data analysis process emphasis was placed on comparing themes between the groups and identifying repeating patterns. Based on the findings, recommendations are made for the development of educational and prevention campaigns that target the deaf community.
Brown, M., & Mkhize, Z. (2019). Perceptions of HIV/AIDS: A Conversation with Deaf Adults in Kwa Zulu-Natal Province, South Africa. JADARA, 49(1). Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/jadara/vol49/iss1/4