News and Events: Press releases

World AIDS Day 2007: HIV-positive teachers lead the way

UNESCO is supporting the launch of a network of HIV-positive teachers in Namibia on World AIDS Day, 1 December, increasing the number of similar networks in countries in East and Southern Africa.

In an interview, teacher Kaino Ndamanomhata describes her experience as a teacher living with HIV and her advocacy work in a rural Namibian school.

The impact of HIV and AIDS on the education sector has been great, particularly in East and Southern Africa, the two most affected regions of the world. Teachers have a key role to play in the education sector’s response to the epidemic, but what happens when they themselves are infected?

Networks of teachers living with HIV are a relatively recent development and play a pivotal role in overcoming the particular challenges they face. Established in Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, these networks enable HIV-positive teachers to discuss issues such as stigma and discrimination, workplace policies, accessing treatment, care and support services, and how teachers can contribute to education sector responses to the AIDS pandemic.

A report published recently by UNESCO and its partners in the EI-EFAIDS programme notes that many teachers living with HIV hesitate to disclose their status due to fear of unfair treatment or loss of employment. It recommends strengthened partnerships between HIV-positive teachers’ networks and teachers’ unions, an analysis of HIV-related impact on and needs of teachers and workplace policies which are implemented at the school level.


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