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Introduction: Disability and HIV are intricately linked, as people with disabilities are at higher risk of contracting HIV, and living with HIV can lead to impairments and disability. Despite this well-established relationship, there remains limited internationally comparable evidence on HIV knowledge and access to testing for people with disabilities. Methods: We used cross-sectional data from 37 Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys. Surveys were from six UNICEF regions, including East Asia and Pacific (n = 6), East and Central Asia (n = 7), Latin America and the Caribbean (n = 6), Middle East and North Africa (n = 4), South Asia (n = 2) and sub-Saharan Africa (n = 12). A total of 513,252 people were eligible for inclusion, including 24,695 (4.8%) people with disabilities. We examined risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals for key indicators on HIV knowledge and access to testing for people with disabilities by sex and country. We also conducted a meta-analysis to get a pooled estimate for each sex and indicator. Results: Men and women with disabilities were less likely to have comprehensive knowledge about HIV prevention (aRR: 0.74 [0.67, 0.81] and 0.75 [0.69, 0.83], respectively) and to know of a place to be tested for HIV (aRR: 0.95 [0.92, 0.99] and 0.94 [0.92, 0.97], respectively) compared to men and women without disabilities. Women with disabilities were also less likely to know how to prevent mother-to-child transmission (aRR: 0.87 [0.81, 0.93]) and ever have been tested for HIV (aRR: 0.90 [0.85, 0.94]). Conclusions: Men and women with disabilities have lower overall HIV knowledge and in particular women with disabilities also indicate lower testing rates. Governments must include people with disabilities in HIV programmes by improving disability-inclusion and accessibility to HIV-related information, education and healthcare services.

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Journal article


Journal of the International AIDS Society

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