A sign language site to fight HIV/AIDS

July 31st, 2012

SCAN0026Founded in 1992, the Coalition Sida des Sourds du Québec (CSSQ) is a community organization and member of the Fondation québécoise du sida which offers preventative and educational services on HIV/AIDS and STBBIs (sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections) for Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities in Quebec. We also provide support services to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people with HIV/AIDS and STBBIs.

On December 1, 2010, to mark World AIDS Day, the CSSQ launched a website in Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) and American Sign Langage (ASL), providing the Quebec Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities with essential information on HIV/AIDS and STBBIs and their treatment.

According to singer Judi Richards, spokesperson for the new web site, “Deaf and Hard of Hearing people are also affected by the HIV epidemic, and in fact are more vulnerable because of the lack of information available in their own languages.”

Michel Turgeon, executive director of the CSSQ, says that to be understood and accessible, information has to be available in sign language, because LSQ and ASL, which have their own grammar and syntax, are often Deaf and Hard of Hearing people’s first languages, with English and French as second languages.

With few resources yet remarkable energy and the support of partners for this innovative project, the CSSQ produced videos in sign language and used 3D technology to serve a community too often left out of prevention and support efforts and to better equip professionals and caregivers working with them.

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