UNAIDS Task Force Underscores Education’s Importance in Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Releases Action Plan to Improve Educational Offerings
The UNAIDS Interagency Task Team on Education on Friday at a meeting in Washington, D.C., warned that countries affected by HIV/AIDS need to step up their education plans in order to have "any hope" of stopping the spread of HIV, according to a World Bank/UNAIDS/UNESCO release. To help such countries reach the Education for All goal of providing quality primary school education to all children by 2015, the team also released a new action plan, titled "HIV/AIDS and Education: A Strategic Approach," to provide national officials with a framework for improving education, one of the "most effective and cost-effective" ways to prevent HIV, according to the release. The plan proposes that the countries most affected by HIV/AIDS adequately prepare teachers to educate students about sex, health and HIV/AIDS prevention "as early as possible" and throughout the student's schooling. The action plan also calls for the media and other "non-formal" education sources to target youth and advocate HIV/AIDS prevention. "Education is an effective, proven weapon against HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately, HIV/AIDS is very effective in attacking the very fabric of the education system. Thus, working to preserve the core functions of education and educating to prevent spread of the disease are complementary and inseparable," Alexandra Draxler, an education specialist and UNESCO Focal Point for HIV/AIDS, said. As the "first step towards putting the new strategy into action," officials from Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Zambia and Tanzania next month will meet in Mombassa, Kenya, to discuss their various educational experiences (World Bank/UNAIDS/UNESCO release, 10/18). The action plan is available online.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.