Inclusion of disability within national strategic responses to HIV and AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Peer-reviewed article
(2011 Jan) Disabil Rehabil, 33 2389-96


Hanass-Hancock J, Strode A, Grant C



National strategic plans (NSPs) provide a framework for a comprehensive response to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) including strategies such as prevention, treatment, care and support for all affected. Research indicates limited recognition of the interrelationship between disability and HIV in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA). This paper analyses the extent to which NSPs in ESA address disability, and identify good practice.


Using a tool based on relevant rights in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the UNAIDS International Guidelines on HIV and Human Rights, a review of 18 NSPs in ESA was conducted to determine the extent to which they included disability.


Although many NSPs fail to integrate disability issues, there are examples of good practice from which much can be learned, particularly with respect to disability and HIV-prevention efforts. There is limited provision for treatment, care and support for disability in the context of HIV and AIDS.


Many NSPs in ESA are due for review, providing ample opportunities for the development of disability-inclusive responses. Future NSPs need to integrate the needs of people with disabilities within structures, programmes and monitoring and evaluation, and make provision for increased rehabilitation needs caused by HIV. A rights-based approach and specific financial allocation of resources are crucial for this process.