Relationship between education and HIV/AIDS

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Education has been identified as a common social vaccine against contracting HIV, resulting in the more educated less likely to be infected. Accurate information of health risks suggests a negative linear relationship between years of education and HIV infection rate.[1] UNESCO Director-General made a statement during 2011 World AIDS Day, identifying education as one of the three primary concerns, and urging for it to become a full-fledged priority. By implementing educational policies, UNESCO aims to make sure all individuals, in and out of formal education, have access to comprehensive HIV education.[2] Improving the education of HIV/AIDS has become a growing concern, with 1 in 4 students aged 16 and above stating they had learned nothing about HIV/AIDS in school during a Sex Education Forum survey in England.[3] The concerns are further stressed since learning about sexually transmitted diseases is the only aspect of sex education that is compulsory for all secondary schools in England and Wales.

Availability of information[edit]

Education is a strong factor in improving population health by building in individuals the capacity to process and understand risks related to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Adversely, poor information hinders individuals from analyzing their behavioural choices by masking potential health risks.[4]

Inadequate information becomes a risk factor for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The mischaracterization of HIV/AIDS as a homosexual disease has led higher status heterosexuals that participate in risky sexual behaviour to continue without considering the risk of infection.[5] Education is important in the growth of adolescent reasoning, as having less prior knowledge shows a compulsion to construct reality based on recent experiences.

Data analysis collected in Sydney, Australia in 2007 found that within 236 adults, age 20 to 65, respondents were concerned about risks of HIV/AIDS transmitted through casual contact, leading to disapproval of homosexuality and drug use. In contrast, highly educated respondents were shown to be less likely to overestimate the possibility of HIV transmission through casual contact compared to respondents with a lower level education.[6]

Attitudinal changes[edit]

Negative attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS stem from misconceptions regarding the disease. Georgian sex workers were found to be highly lacking knowledge, with only 61% knowing that a healthy-looking person can be infected, and 44% thinking one can get HIV from a mosquito bite. Only 64% think that using condoms for every sexual act can reduce the risk of HIV.[7] Sex workers in Georgia who were interviewed regarding people living with HIV/AIDS were found to have negative attitudes towards infected individuals. Only 25% thought a teacher who is HIV-positive should be allowed to continue teaching, and only 25% would buy food from an infected vendor.[7]

Stigma associated with those who have HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa prevents many from getting tested. The relation predicts, as formal education continues to change attitudes towards those living with HIV/AIDS, the reduction of stigma enhances prevention techniques.[1]

Cognitive abilities[edit]

As cognitive abilities are built, individuals become more motivated and develop a capacity to absorb more accurate information. Over half of English students agree that teaching about HIV/AIDS should start between 11 and 13 years old, while just under one third believe between 14 and 16 is the best age to learn about sexual education.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the introduction of partially accurate information in Sub-Saharan Africa led to a decline in HIV rates among more educated, suggesting they may have the greater cognitive skill required to sift through the various levels of accuracy and mount a more effective response.[1] Increased motivation needed to analyze personal risks and behavioural choices were increased by cognitive abilities enhanced by formal education, suggesting a direct correlation.[1]


The result in a shortage of teaching materials and inadequate capacities in the teaching of HIV and AIDS and life skills education. In addition, it was found that HIV and AIDS are highly stigmatized, colleges are ill equipped with health facilities, and national policies on condom use are ambiguous. The report presents a discussion of these and other issues, and makes policy and programmatic recommendations for strengthening the response of teacher training colleges to HIV and AIDS. HIV/AIDS affects the economics of both individuals and countries. The gross domestic product of the most affected countries has decreased due to the lack of human capital. Without proper nutrition, health care and medicine, large numbers of people die from AIDS-related complications. They will not only be unable to work, but will also require significant medical care. It is estimated that as of 2007 there where 12 million Many are cared for by elderly grandparents. By affecting mainly young adults, AIDS reduces the taxable population, in turn reducing the resources available for public expenditures such as education and health services not related to AIDS resulting in increasing pressure for the state's finances and slower growth of the economy. This causes a slower growth of the tax base, an effect that is reinforced if there are growing expenditures on treating the sick, training (to replace sick workers), sick pay and caring for AIDS orphans. This is especially true if the sharp increase in adult mortality shifts the responsibility and blame from the family to the government in caring for these orphans. At the household level, AIDS results in both the loss of income but also increased spending on healthcare. A study in Côte d'Ivoire showed that households with an HIV/AIDS patient, spent twice as much on medical expenses as other households.[8] This additional expenditure also leaves less income to spend on education and other personal or family investment.


Studies of the effectiveness of HIV education programs often rely on self-reported information about knowledge and behavior, leading to a possible social desirability bias if subjects report what they think the interviewer wants to think[7] Encouraging Kenyan students to write essays on way of protecting oneself against HIV/AIDS led to increased self-reported use of condoms without an increase in self-reported sexual activity. There is no evidence to determine whether an increase in condom use by students corresponds to actual reduction in HIV/AIDS.[7]

Early findings adversely identified formal education as a risk factor (with the more educated individuals being most likely to be infected). As wealthier individuals are usually more educated, the risk of many of these individuals was accompanied by the presence of formal wealth as a risk factor. Twenty years into the pandemic, education began to shift from risk factor to social vaccine.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Baker, David Multiple Effects of Education on Disease: The Intriguing Case of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-02-07. Retrieved 2014-03-14. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Population Research Institute". 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2017-10-04.
  5. ^ Glover, Ryan; Wiseman, Alexander: The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Education Worldwide
  6. ^ Hosseinzadeh, Hassan: Functional Analysis of HIV/AIDS Stigma: Consensus or Divergence?
  7. ^ a b c d The World Bank: Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behavior Related To HIV/AIDS Among Transport Sector Workers: A Case Study of Georgia.
  8. ^ Over M (1992). "The macroeconomic impact of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, Population and Human Resources Department". The World Bank.