International AIDS Society


HIV prevention for young people through the education sector in Zambia

J. Woods1, J. Silwimba2, E. Mumba3, J. du Plessis1, J. Zulu1, M. Malinda4

Issues: Despite high levels of knowledge, HIV incidence does not seem to be decreasing among adolescents in Zambia. Girls are much more likely to be infected than boys. Intergenerational sex, transactional sex and multiple concurrent partnerships are normalized. The education sector is struggling to implement effective HIV prevention.
Description: The CHANGES2 program works with the Ministry of Education to reach young people before they become sexually active. CHANGES2 has developed a model for HIV prevention among primary school students which utilizes existing Ministry structures to address barriers to safe behavior at the individual and community levels. Teachers are trained to dispel common myths around transmission and prevention and to build life skills. Recognizing that young people make decisions within the context of community norms and expectations, School-Community Partnerships address local social and cultural norms which put young people at risk. Facilitated by trained teachers and community leaders, communities identify and analyze local risk factors. Risks indentified through this mechanism include student-teacher sexual relationships, gender roles which encourage men to have multiple partners and women to be submissive, and lack of economic opportunities for young people, especially girls. Community members then develop action plans and can apply for small grants to implement their plans. These activities are being carried out in four out of nine Zambian Provinces, reaching over 1,200 schools.
Lessons learned: The education sector can develop and implement programs which address multiple levels of risk factors. However, given the current centralization of HIV prevention within the health sector, further cross sectoral interaction is needed for coherent and meaningful prevention programs.
Next steps: Initial data show that the program has had a significant effect on attitudes towards gender relations and gender violence. Further quantitative and qualitative data are needed to analyze the effect on behavior and changes in social norms.

AIDS 2008 - XVII International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. WEPE0414

Suggested Citation
"J.Woods, et al. HIV prevention for young people through the education sector in Zambia. : AIDS 2008 - XVII International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. WEPE0414"