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HIV AIDS Education

Each year there are more and more new HIV infections, which shows that people aren't learning the message about the dangers of HIV, or do not act on it.  Many people are dangerously ignorant about the virus - a survey in the UK found recently that a third of teens thought there was a 'cure' for AIDS.  Education is an important component of preventing the spread of HIV for each generation, both young and old.


There are three main reasons for HIV AIDS education:

The first is to prevent new infections from taking place. This can be by giving people information about HIV (ie what HIV and AIDS are and how they are transmitted), and how people can protect themselves from infection whether it be by practicing safer sex, preventing infection in a medical environment or by injecting drugs.


A second reason that AIDS education is needed is to improve quality of life for HIV positive people.  Too often, AIDS education is seen as being something which should be targeted only at people who are not infected with HIV in order to prevent them from becoming infected.  When AIDS education with HIV positive people is considered at all it is frequently seen only in terms of preventing new infections by teaching HIV positive people about the importance of not passing on the virus.  An equally important and commonly-neglected aspect of AIDS education with HIV positive people is enabling and empowering them to improve their quality of life.  HIV positive people have varying educational needs, but among them are the need to be able to access medical services and drug provision and the need to be able to find appropriate emotional and practical support and help.


The third reason people need AIDS education is to reduce stigma and discrimination.  In many countries there is a great deal of fear and stigmatisation of people who are HIV positive.  This fear is too often accompanied by ignorance, resentment and ultimately, anger.  Sometimes the results of prejudice and fear can be extreme, as in India where some HIV positive people were being burned to death, and in many countries where families have been forced to leave their homes.  The whole issue results in people being afraid to be tested for HIV, with the result that they are more likely to pass the infection to someone else without being aware of it.


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