HIV / AIDS prevention and education

Introduction Top

Education is more than reading, writing and arithmetic. An important component in any school should be health education. Health education is more than transmitting basic knowledge. Health education deals with influencing or changing attitudes and behaviour, with life skills. Such education is promoted by teachers’ unions at national level, but also requires international support and initiatives.

Since 1994, Education International (EI) works in close cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the field of health education and more specifically on HIV/AIDS prevention. Recognizing the urgency for a broad, strong school health response to HIV/AIDS, EI and WHO joined by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) work hand in hand with EI affiliates to prevent the further spread of the disease. This partnership led to the launch in 2001 of the EI/WHO/EDC Teachers Training Programme on HIV/AIDS prevention in schools and later on, in 2006, of the EFAIDS Programme. The EFAIDS Programme ended in June 2011 but most of the EI affiliates who have been involved in the programme will continue organising themselves to fight against HIV and AIDS and related stigma and discrimination.

To know more about the EFAIDS Programme, please click here
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Policy Top

The EI World Congresses adopted the following resolutions with regard to HIV/AIDS. They are: "Resolution on HIV/AIDS" (2004), "Resolution on Gender and HIV/AIDS" (2004), "Resolution on Health Promotion and School Health" (1998), "Resolution on Health Promotion and Education for the Prevention of AIDS and Health-Threatening Behaviours" (1995).

In between the Congresses, the EI Executive Board also adopted a resolution on HIV/AIDS prevention: "AIDS: Save the children and the teachers" (2000).

Activities Top

Spanning 5,5 years (2006 -2011), the EFAIDS Programme is an initiative of Education International (EI) and coordinated with the support of its partners the WHO (World Health Organisation) and EDC (Education Development Center).

The EFAIDS Programme combines the goal of achieving Education for All with the need to limit the impact of HIV and AIDS on the education sector, and was implemented between January 2006 and June 2011 in coordination with over 80 EI member organisations in almost 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean on the basis of five working areas: Research, Policy development, Advocacy, Publicity and Training.

The three programme goals are:

  • To prevent new HIV infections among teachers and learners:this goal is pursued primarily via the training of teachers in the use of exercises from the Teachers' Exercise Book on HIV Prevention. The training passes on to wider circles of teachers and learners via a cascade system.
  • To mitigate the negative effect of AIDS on achieving the EFA goals:the EFAIDS Programme seeks to foster an open environment where risk reduction, testing, treatment and care can be discussed and addressed. Attaining this goal entails research work (e.g. on teacher supply and demand), policy development (e.g. developing a workplace policy on HIV and AIDS) and crucially, advocacy for the proper training, support, treatment and care of teachers.
  • To increase the number of learners completing basic education:via research, advocacy and raising public awareness. EI affiliates develop partnerships with other civil society organisations and engage their governments and international organisations to advance the EFA agenda, with an emphasis on quality.


Through the EFAIDS Programme, teacher unions have fostered and applied the skills from the five working areas in supporting HIV prevention education, protecting and upholding the rights and of those living with HIV, and promoting free access to quality public education for all children.

The rationale of adopting a joint approach to the issues of EFA and HIV/AIDS can be summarised as follows. By achieving Education for All children will be better equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to protect themselves from HIV infection. Similarly teachers who are supported to live healthily are better placed to contribute to providing quality education. A two sided approach is favoured as achieving universal education will help stem the tide of HIV infections, while promoting HIV prevention education and support for people living with HIV will strengthen the education sector ensuring higher quality.  

As teacher unions continue to build upon their capacities and extend their expertise, the EFAIDS Programme has made a positive impact on thousands of teachers and students through a broad range of activities over the past 5,5 years.  Through the Programme, EI member organisations have strengthened their role in policy dialogue on quality education and HIV/AIDS, while at the same time integrating these issues in core union work. 

Thousands of teachers have been trained on HIV and AIDS prevention and education. They have also been empowered to lobby their governments to institutionalise training on HIV and AIDS. Teacher unions have also pushed their governments to grant free Education for All and to improve the quality of education by recruiting more teachers, providing ongoing training and improving school infrastructures.

EI member organisations who have participated in the EFAIDS Programme continue to work towards the fulfilment of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, paying special attention to the needs of teachers and their students living with HIV.

To know more about the EFAIDS Programme, please click here

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