Tuesday, August 21, 2007

HIV/AIDS and Deaf People in Japan

Japan is one of the few so-called developing countries where HIV/AIDS rates are still increasing. This trend continues and will get a whole lot worse before it gets any better. Historically the Japanese government has effectively denied that there was any AIDS problem in Japan and under-reported statistics. While they most likely continue the latter they cannot ignore the HIV/AIDS situation any longer. Recently the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare released a special report that stated HIV/AIDS infections for the April - June quarter in 2007 reached a new high. Read a brief article about it by clicking the link below.

Link to Japan Today article

HIV/AIDS seems to be a bigger problem for deaf people than hearing people, mostly due to the fact that HIV/AIDS information is rarely available in sign language. In many countries rates of HIV/AIDS infections are higher for deaf people than for hearing people. Some research has been done in this area, most notably in the special edition of Deaf Worlds seen below.

This is not a plug or plea for you to buy the book. It is a request that you read it, spread the word about the problem and add to the discourse on improving the situation. The book includes articles, reports and poetry about deaf people with HIV/AIDS in Africa, the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. My own article deals with the situation in Japan.

Living Partial Truths: HIV/AIDS in the Japanese Deaf World

Abstract: This paper is intended to be a report on the HIV/AIDS situation among Japanese deaf people. The question of whether HIV/AIDS is a problem for Japanese deaf people as it is for deaf people in other societies will be explored from a number of different angles. First, I give an overview of deafness in Japan. Second, the general HIV/AIDS situation will be described as it impacts deaf people and the mainstream society at large. Third, attempts at HIV/AIDS education in the areas of general information and prevention in Japan will be investigated, including how hearing and deaf school children learn about HIV/AIDS. Finally, I present data on the relationship between deaf people and HIV/AIDS. The heuristic device of “partial truths” will be employed in both the ethnographic and literal sense of the term. Although ways to measure incidence vary, one estimate I make is that there are approximately 300 Japanese deaf people with HIV/AIDS. Although the number might seem small, no happy ending or convenient conclusions are offered and the conclusion argues for continuing dialogue and research.

Unfortunately this book has received very little attention. The publisher has done little promotion and there have been no academic reviews as of yet. As a "focused edition" of a journal disguised as a book, it does not appear in Amazon.com. You can find it at the link below:

Link to HIV/AIDS And Deaf Communities book description and order information

In addition, I would be happy to share my text with anyone who is interested. Please submit your request via a comment. Let's do whatever we can to solve this serious and deadly problem.


Anonymous said...

I am very interested in your text on Deaf people and HIV in Japan. I am looking at similar issues in South Africa and find all of your comments are relevant to us here too. Please send me any text that you have available on this topic. Thanks

visual gonthros said...

Hello Hazel,

Thank you for your comment. If you tell me your e-mail address I would be happy to send you my text.

Anonymous said...


I am from Bangkok and interested in your article- HIV/AIDS in the Japanese Deaf World. How can access the text of this article. My email shilpatil@gmail.com