The fields of HIV and disability: past, present and future

J Int AIDS Soc. 2009 Nov 9;12:28. doi: 10.1186/1758-2652-12-28.


This article provides an historic overview of the fields of disability and HIV. We describe this area of concern in terms of "fields" versus "a single field" because of the two related but distinct trends that have evolved over time. The first field involves people living with HIV and their experiences of disability, disablement and rehabilitation brought on by the disease and its treatments. The second involves people with disabilities and their experiences of vulnerability to and life with HIV. These two fields have evolved relatively independently over time. However, in the final section of this article, we argue that the divide between these fields is collapsing, and that this collapse is beginning to produce a new understanding about shared concerns, cross-field learning and the mutual benefits that might be realized from integrating policy and programmatic responses. We close by identifying directions that we expect these merging fields to take in the coming years.