HIV-Positive Teachers in Kenya’s Central Province Develop Program To Fight Virus Among Teachers, Students
A group of HIV-positive teachers in Kenya's Central province has formed a program aimed at educating teachers and students about HIV/AIDS in an effort to reduce the spread of the disease, The Nation/AllAfrica.com reports. HIV prevalence among teachers in the region is 4.5%, according to The Nation/AllAfrica.com.
About 400 teachers, who teach mostly in primary schools, are participating in the program, called "Chill," according to Charles Nyaberi of AIDS Population and Health Integrated Assistance, which administers the program. Each school participating in the program is assigned one male and one female youth leader, who assist teachers in conducting the program. The youth leaders provide students with information on HIV/AIDS and teach life skills. They also answer students' questions about the disease, help parents and teachers assess their HIV risk and encourage testing.
Nyaberi said the goal of the program is to increase the age at which teenagers first have sex to 17. "We also aim at increasing a greater sense of responsibility, greater self-worth and self-esteem, and a reduced tolerance for sexual violence" to "create a generation of youth who are empowered to make informed decisions regarding their lives and sexuality," Nyaberi said.
About 64 schools in the Central province are participating in the Chill program, and Nyaberi said APHIA hopes to expand the program to 10 schools each in the province's Kirinyaga, Murang'a North and Murang'a South districts. APHIA has received permission from the Ministry of Education's director of quality assurance and standards to expand the program into more districts in Central province and Nairobi, the country's capital. Kenneth Misoi, Central province's director of education, welcomed the program's expansion, adding that it is "one way teachers and pupils can try to save the country" from the spread of HIV/AIDS (Mwangi/Muchire, The Nation/AllAfrica.com, 1/30).