Perceptions for People with Disabilities (PPD) is a non-profit community based organization that would like to take on the mission of collecting data on people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA's) and the Differently-abled (visually impaired/blind, hard of hearing/deaf, physically and/or mentally challenged).
Perceptions for People with Disabilities have been trying to obtain data on this underserved, marginalized, and emerging population of survivors. At the present time, much needed epidemiological data is critical for this emerging population, and there is little available at the national, state and/or local levels.
Science has achieved, with the advent of HAART (Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy) in late 1996, its goal of lowing morbidity, and prolonging the lives of PLWHA's. Moreover, now that living with HIV/AIDS will not drastically truncate ones life expectancy, do we know the ramifications of the virus, the prolonged use of HAART medications and natural geriatrics, when a person becomes differently-abled.
OK- now to the Scientific stuff.
First the basics: what is AIDS? AIDS (acquire immune deficiency syndrome) is a condition caused by a virus called HIV. This virus attacks the immune system, the body's "security force" that fights off infections. When the immune system breaks down, you lose this protection and can develop many serious, often deadly infections and cancers. These are called "opportunistic infections (OIs)" because they take advantage of the body's weakened defenses. You have heard it said that someone "died of AIDS." This is not entirely accurate, since it is the opportunistic infections that cause death. AIDS is the condition that lets the OIs take hold.
We are now in the third decade of the
HIV/AIDS epidemic and although HIV prevention efforts have grown substantially
over time and we have made important progress, major unmet needs remain
especially concerning the Differently-abled. HIV continues to pose a
significant threat to Americans' health and well-being, with African Americans
and men who have sex with men (MSM) of all races most severely affected.
African Americans account for 13 percent of the population, they account for nearly
half of HIV diagnoses in 2005 (49% in 33 states with longstanding confidential
name-based reporting) and nearly half of the people estimated to be living with
HIV (47%). MSM also account for half of new HIV diagnoses in 2005 (49% in the
33 states with confidential name-based reporting) and nearly half of people
estimated to be living with HIV (45%). However, when it comes to this epidemic
among HIV differently-abled individuals, a prevention message has been totally
unnoticed, and unobserved. PPD plan to change this non-inclusion.
Perceptions for People with Disabilities (PPD) is committed to empowering and educating the Differently-abled, (visually/blind, hard of hearing/deaf, mentally and/or physically challenged) people living with HIV/AIDS to be socially independent and self-sufficient.
PPD also strives to increase community awareness around the special needs of people living with HIV/AIDS who are visually impaired/blind, hard of hearing/deaf, mentally and/or physically challenged.