Infection due to Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can cause damage to both the central and peripheral nervous systems and result in disorders of communication. Progressive decline in speech behaviours in HIV infected individuals have been documented in Western literature (Flower and Sooy, 1987). This study aims to create a database of speech impairments seen in individuals with HIV infection to reflect the need for assessment and management of communication skills. 15 males with HIV infection between the age ranges of 18 - 40 years were included in the study. The deviant speech characteristics was profiled on the parameters in Frenchay Dysarthria Assessment. 93.3% of the participants demonstrated speech impairments which ranged across the participants. Most affected were parameters of tongue and laryngeal functions followed by reflex, respiration, lip functions and intelligibility parameters. Jaw and soft palate functions were not affected in any of the participants. It can be concluded that HIV infection results in speech impairments in the affected individuals. But this conclusion has to be generalized with caution since only 15 participants were involved in this study. Further research considering the effects of medication, opportunistic infections and disease duration is suggested.
Key words: HIV, speech disorders.
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