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Preventing HIV/AIDS in schools (Educational Practices 9)

Schools are key settings for educating children about HIV/AIDS and for halting the further spread of the HIV infection. Success in carrying out this function depends upon reaching children and young adults in time to reinforce positive health behaviours and alter the behaviours that place young people at risk. Schools reach children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 18, and have excellent resources for delivering effective education: skilled teachers; an interactive educational process that occurs over time; a variety of learning opportunities; materials and methods; and the ability to involve parents in their children’s learning.

In combating HIV infection, the crucial responsibility of schools is to teach young people how to avoid either contracting the infection or transmitting it to others and to serve as a catalyst for the development of HIV-related policies that are based on the most current scientific knowledge about HIV and AIDS. In doing so, schools have the opportunity to make important improvements in the quality of health education provided to young people worldwide as a step towards improving global health.