Tackling stigma and discrimination in educational settings in Ukraine
The HIV prevalence in Ukraine among adults 15-49 years old remains the highest amongst countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. However, over the past 5 years, the share of young people aged 15-25 who are newly diagnosed with HIV has decreased 1.5 times (from 15% in 2007 to 9% in 2011). This suggests possible positive impact from school-based prevention education programmes and larger behaviour change information and communication campaigns. Despite notable results achieved, people living with HIV in Ukraine, including children and adolescents, often face stigma and discrimination in educational settings, in workplaces, as well as while obtaining medical care.
To ensure a discrimination free, safe and supportive learning environment and to uphold the rights of all learners and workers including those living with or affected by HIV, in 2012 the Ministry of Education of Ukraine adopted the Methodological Recommendations for HIV Policy Implementation in the Education Sector. Aimed at raising educators’ awareness and strengthening HIV prevention through education, the recommendations were fully aligned with the new Code of Education (national education law) and based on the Regional Recommendations on HIV Policy for Education Sector in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (UNESCO Moscow Office – ILO Regional Bureau for EECA, 2011).
In 2013, with technical expertise provided by UNESCO and funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the European Union, the All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH (People Living With HIV) and the Children’s Fund “Health through Education” developed the “Practical Recommendations for HIV Policy Implementation in the Education Sector in Ukraine” based on the documents mentioned above.
The Practical Recommendations provide education authorities and educators with tips for developing and implementing measures focused on protecting and supporting learners and educators living with HIV from discrimination.
During 2013, the Practical Recommendations will be widely distributed in Ukrainian schools. In addition, more than 16,000 teachers are expected to benefit from special trainings which will improve their knowledge and skills in teaching HIV prevention and health education, sensitizing learners on solidarity with people living with HIV, and protecting them from discrimination in educational institutions.
<- Back to: UNESCO Office in Moscow