To assess recent estimates of HIV prevalence and the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the HIV response in sub-Saharan Africa.
A systematic literature search was conducted of recent HIV prevalence studies among persons with disabilities in sub-Saharan Africa and National Strategic Plans from 18 countries in east and southern Africa were reviewed. Results were compared to a 2014 literature search and a 2009 National Strategic Plans review that used similar methods.
Between 2013 and 2018, four published studies were identified with estimates of HIV prevalence among persons with disabilities in sub-Saharan Africa. In each study, HIV prevalence was higher among persons with disabilities than national population estimates. Fourteen of the 18 National Strategic Plans reviewed identified persons with disabilities as a vulnerable or marginalized population and thirteen National Strategic Plans proposed targeted programs for persons with disabilities. Among seven assessed disability inclusion indicators of National Strategic Plans, four showed some improvement, two showed no change, and one regressed compared to the 2009 analysis.
Data on HIV prevalence among persons with disabilities is rare. In addition, inclusion of this population in National Strategic Plans in East and Southern African countries is often lacking specific detail.Implications for rehabilitationHIV prevalence studies in sub-Saharan Africa among persons with disabilities are rare and community studies do not disaggregate by type of disability.Estimates of HIV prevalence among persons with disabilities are greater than national averages.Government National HIV Strategic Plans often mention persons with disabilities as a vulnerable population but less often identify specific interventions or inclusive strategies for prevention or care.The integration of attention to disability in national HIV bio-behavioral surveys would allow increased understanding of HIV vulnerability and prevalence and could increase attention to persons with disabilities as a key population within National Strategic Plans.