Young people with HIV in UK and other countries face many challenges while growing up. The ground-breaking medical advances over the past 15 years notwithstanding, the specific challenges faced by young people growing up with HIV remain unanswered. HIV-related stigma is indicative of whether our classrooms, playgrounds and even offices are encouraging of such behaviour related to the current issues and trends of this problem.
In several schools throughout the country, young people share classrooms with other pupils and also teachers living with HIV and yet, very often, have very little knowledge of the basic facts about it. This brings us to the problem of a culture in which shared responsibility for sexuality is not looked into – which often brings about disastrous consequences.
People who live with HIV, particularly young people who want to embark on the journey of fun and flirtation, gratification of desire – must disclose their HIV status. Any potential sexual partner has to be told about this or they face prosecution. This is not ideal for sound HIV prevention. As one in four young people do not receive any education on these issues in most countries where there is a problem of HIV, schools have to play their part and become the knowledge centre for a complete HIV, and sex and relationship education.
Although HIV cases are coming down globally compared to the earlier years, HIV-AIDS is still at the international programme. The declining tendency is mainly due to sub-Saharan Africa and has been possible due to joint efforts such as HIV prevention programmes implementation, antiretroviral (ARV) therapy provision and the normal course of HIV epidemics according to UNAIDS, 2010.
Findings from some research studies reveal that education programmes for HIV-AIDS prevention are taking place in primary schools in many countries around the world but their effectiveness has not been officially acknowledged. The degree to which schools put into practice the education programmes for HIV prevention and the programmes’ success seem to be governed by status of schools with regards to the schools’ geographical setting. For this purpose, more should be to done for mobilising both human as well as financial resources that can improve the basic school infrastructure and also improve the life skills of teachers through training of for HIV-AIDS education prevention.
It has to be said that a gainful role played by the school can bring about a lot of happiness in the lives of the HIV infected youth which is grappling to terms with their situation.
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