Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Education is the best vaccine against HIV and AIDS.

Data: With an estimated 6,800 people newly infected with HIV every day, education must be at the forefront of any response to HIV and AIDS. Education can impart knowledge and skills and encourage positive attitudes and behaviour that will reduce a person’s chance of getting HIV. Educational institutions take a central role in HIV prevention efforts because they are the best way to reach large numbers of young people. Similarly, school health, awareness and hygiene programmes help to combat malaria and other diseases

Progress is being made, but national education sectors need to reinforce their pivotal role. One study, covering thirty-two countries, found that women with post-primary education were five times more likely than illiterate women to know about HIV/AIDS.

Education has been recognised by UNAIDS to be a key element of effective HIV prevention. Even in the absence of HIV-specific interventions, education offers an important measure of protection against HIV. The Global Campaign for Education has estimated that universal primary education would prevent 700,000 new HIV infections each year. Education reduces the vulnerability of girls, and each year of schooling offers greater protective benefits.

Recent survey data from 64 countries indicate that only 40% of males and 38% of females aged 15-24 have comprehensive and correct knowledge about HIV and how to avoid transmission. These levels are far short of the target established at the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS (UNGASS) of 95% by 2010.

School-based HIV education offers a very cost-effective approach to prevention as schools provide a practical means to reach large numbers of young people from diverse social backgrounds

HIV AIDS Education website



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