Mitigation of HIV/AIDS Crisis in Asia through Education
Nearly 1 of 5 people are living with HIV and AIDS in the world from which about 7 million people live in the Asia/Pacific region. The situation is rapidly deteriorating and the increase in the prevalence of the infection is very high. In Uzbekistan, the number of cases has been increasing 50% by the year and 70% of these cases concern young people under the age of 29. It is the fastest growing HIV and AIDS epidemics in the world.
Preventing AIDS through education
The OPEC fund and UNESCO endeavour to reduce the pandemic by raising awareness about HIV and AIDS through the education system. Prevention has proven to be effective in limiting the spread of an epidemic; therefore the targets were schools and young people.
1. Consolidating knowledge and developing prevention toolkits;
2. Strengthening strategic planning, developing curricula, training and monitoring;
3. Promoting HIV/AIDS education through the media;
4. Strengthening tools for international monitoring and response for HIV and AIDS impact on education;
5. Scale-up HIV and AIDS education in schools.
In Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Jordan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam, EDUCAIDS implemented the project from 2005 to 2008 in a cascading system:
In Uzbekistan, the mondule “Healthy Lifestyle and Family” was introduced into the school curriculum for children aged 14 to 16. 200 teachers were given a 4 day training, giving them the potential to reach out to 2 million pupils. The impact was huge. A survey has shown a quite remarkable increase in awareness about HIV and AIDS and the project is due to be rolled out to 12 and 13 year olds too. “Peer prevention activities in school provide us with life important information, which we hesitate to ask from our parents and teachers”, says a 18-year-old girl from Uzbekistan.
In Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Education has integrated HIV and AIDS into the national education plans. 8 schools participated in a pilot project including regular talks among peers about health issues, notably HIV and AIDS. They will continue for the next 3 years to reach out more than 3,000 pupils. The project makes young people change attitudes: “...they learn how to say no to unsafe sex. ... Now they speak to their parents about these issues too”.
In China, there are an estimated 10 million HIV positive people. A series of one-day training sessions covering HIV and AIDS prevention was organized in cooperation with the National Academy for Education Administration. With increasing awareness the national guidelines on HIV and AIDS are more likely to be implemented in schools.
In Bangladesh, 24 workshops addressing a total of 504 Imams have been held, with the potential to reach out to 300,000 people. Another 480 sessions have been organized for 1,440 rural women discussing HIV and AIDS stigma, discrimination, health and society.
In Viet Nam 141 teachers and curriculum developers have been trained in teacher training colleges on HIV and AIDS prevention education in six clusters across the country.
- Prevention Toolkit, has been translated into 9 languages, over 20,000 hard copies and 10,000 CD-ROMs have been distributed to key education sector stakeholders.
- Teacher Training Manual, has been translated into 4 languages and over 8,000 hard copies have been distributed.