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HIV & Education

​​​​In recent years, the education sector has come to play an increasingly important role in preventing HIV. Children of school-age have the lowest HIV infection rates of any population sector. Even in the worst affected countries, the vast majority of schoolchildren are not infected. For these children, there is a window of hope, a chance to live a life free from AIDS, if they can acquire knowledge, skills, and values that will help protect them as they grow up. 

Providing a 'social vaccine'

Providing young people, especially girls, with the ‘social vaccine’ of education offers them a real chance at a productive life. Not only is education important for preventing HIV; preventing HIV is also essential for education.

The impact of the epidemic means some countries are beginning to experience a reversal of hard-won educational gains; affecting supply, demand, and quality of education, HIV and AIDS limits the capacity of education sectors to achieve Education for All (EFA), and of countries to achieve their targets towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

While the Education Sector plays a key ‘external’ role in HIV prevention and in reducing stigma, it also plays an important ‘internal’ role in providing access to care, treatment and support for teachers and staff, a group that in many countries represents more than 60 per cent of the public sector workforce.

Life affirming documentaries

An estimated 122,000 teachers in sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV, most of whom have not sought testing and do not know their status. See the World Bank paper Education and HIV&AIDS: A Window of Hope for a technical perspective on these issues and the documentary film, Window of Hope, for an overview of the topic.


Stigma remains a significant challenge and barrier to accessing and providing assistance to these teachers. The book and accompanying documentary film both entitled Courage and Hope​ also provides an overview of this topic.




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