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Coordinates: 37°25′19″N 122°12′40″W / 37.421844°N 122.211066°W / 37.421844; -122.211066


TeachAIDS Logo

Founded 2009
Founder Piya Sorcar
Clifford Nass
Shuman Ghosemajumder
Ashwini Doshi
Type Operating public charity
U.S. 501(c)(3)
Focus HIV/AIDS Education technology
Origins Stanford University
Key people
Piya Sorcar, CEO
Website teachaids.org

TeachAIDS (pronounced /ˌtˈdz/) is a nonprofit organization that develops HIV prevention education technology materials, based on an approach invented through research at Stanford University.[1][2]

The TeachAIDS software has been cited as a model health intervention.[3] Since the materials bypass issues of stigma, they allow HIV prevention education to be provided to communities where it has previously not been allowed.[4][5] In other communities, the tutorials provide the highest learning effects and comfort rates of any tested educational approach.[6]

The TeachAIDS materials are animated, interactive software tutorials, customized for individual cultures and languages, and incorporating the voices of celebrities from each region. In India, these include national icons such as actress Shabana Azmi,[7] actor Akkineni Nagarjuna,[8] and director Amol Palekar. In Botswana, they include musicians Scar and Zeus, with an introduction from the former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae.[9]

TeachAIDS operates globally, with its animations in use in more than 30 countries.[1] Its materials are made available for free under a Creative Commons License, funded through donations from individuals and organizations including Covington & Burling, Google, Nimmagadda Foundation, UNICEF, and Yahoo!.


Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae (right), a TeachAIDS advisor, helped bring the tutorials to Botswana.

TeachAIDS began in 2005 as a research project at Stanford University. From 2005 to 2009, a new interdisciplinary approach to HIV/AIDS education was developed by Piya Sorcar, based on IRB-approved research conducted under professors Shelley Goldman (Learning Sciences), Martin Carnoy (Comparative Education), Cheryl Koopman (Psychiatry), Randall Stafford (Epidemiology), and Clifford Nass (Communication).[6]

The project's goal was to find a way to address the frequently taboo subjects associated with sexual issues and HIV/AIDS specifically. One major finding was that 2D cartoon figures were the optimal balance between comfort and clarity in terms of visual representation for sex-related topics.[6][10] On that basis, animated storyboards were created which emphasized the biological aspects of HIV transmission and used cultural euphemisms to overcome social stigma.[11] In addition, specific pedagogical techniques (e.g., instructional scaffolding) were utilized to create a coherent conception of HIV transmission for learners, as opposed to the fragmented knowledge created by mass media campaigns.[12]

Early research versions of the animations were sponsored by Time Warner, the Government of South Korea, and Neeru Khosla, and used custom illustrations drawn by Sorcar's father, award-winning animator Manick Sorcar.[12] Pilot versions were subsequently created in English, Hindi, Kinyarwanda, Mandarin, and Spanish. Additional experts contributed to the design and evaluation of the materials, including Stanford professors David Katzenstein (Infectious Disease), Douglas Owens (Medicine), and Roy Pea (Learning Sciences).[13]

Spun out of Stanford in 2009, TeachAIDS began expanding its organization and developing new versions of its tutorials for additional countries and languages around the world. Additional versions of the tutorials in Indian English, Telugu, and Tswana were launched in 2010.[14]

Worldwide use[edit]

Actress Shabana Azmi, one of many celebrities who have donated their voices to TeachAIDS tutorials.

The TeachAIDS tutorials are available for free online and are used in more than 30 countries around the world.[1] In addition, numerous AIDS service organizations, AIDS education and training centers, NGOs, and government agencies distribute and utilize the tutorials as part of their own HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.[13] Some of the organizations partnered with TeachAIDS include CARE, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the U.S. Peace Corps.

In India, the National AIDS Control Organisation approved the TeachAIDS materials in January, 2010,[2][15] marking the first time HIV/AIDS education could be provided decoupled from sex education. Later that year, the Government of Karnataka approved the materials for their state of 50 million and committed to distributing them in 5,500 government schools.[16]

In Botswana, the TeachAIDS tutorials have been adopted nationally as a standard method for HIV/AIDS education. In 2011, the Ministry of Education will be distributing the tutorials to every primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institution in the country, reaching all learners from 6 to 24 years of age nationwide.[17]

In the United States, the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education distributes the tutorials on CD along with a custom educator handbook, both of which are made available at no cost.[18]

Notable people[edit]

Numerous international actors, musicians, and celebrities have lent their voices and likenesses to the TeachAIDS materials. These include Nagarjuna Akkineni, Amala Akkineni, Shabana Azmi, Shruti Haasan, Jayanthi, Imran Khan, Prashanta Nanda, Anu Choudhury, Navdeep, Amol Palekar, Anu Prabhakar, Swati Reddy, Anushka Shetty, Siddharth, Sudeep, Zeus, and many others.[13]

The TeachAIDS advisory board includes film director Mahesh Bhatt, HIV/AIDS treatment pioneer Nimmagadda Prasad, Global Fund for Women founder Anne Firth Murray, and former President of Botswana Festus Mogae.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Mahafreed Irani (24 September 2011). "Moving pictures, moving minds". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Paromita Pain (5 September 2011). "Overcoming barriers through technology". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Parker, Jerry C.; Thorson, Esther (2008). Health Communication in the New Media Landscape. New York, NY: Springer Publishing. p. 393. ISBN 978-0-8261-0122-8. 
  4. ^ "TR35: Piya Sorcar: Software that can be localized to teach taboo topics". Technology Review. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Star touch to animated film on HIV/AIDS". The New Indian Express. 27 November 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c Piya Sorcar (1 March 2009). "Teaching Taboo Topics Without Talking About Them: An Epistemic Study of a New Approach to HIV/AIDS Prevention Education in India". Stanford University. Retrieved 1 March 2009. 
  7. ^ "Animated film to educate students on HIV". The Times of India. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "Animation lessons on HIV/AIDS awareness released". The Hindu. 27 November 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  9. ^ "Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, joins TeachAIDS Advisory Board". TeachAIDS. 16 September 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  10. ^ "Treating Africa’s Biggest Diseases" (PDF). The California Tech. 5 May 2008. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  11. ^ "Let's NOT Talk About Sex, Baby". New America Media. 1 December 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  12. ^ a b Handbook of Research on Digital Media and Advertising. Matthew Eastin, Terry Daugherty, Neal Burns. Information Science Reference, July 31, 2010. ISBN 1-60566-792-7. Chapter: Teaching Taboo Topics Through Technology.
  13. ^ a b c d "About TeachAIDS". TeachAIDS. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  14. ^ "A New Approach to Global HIV/AIDS Education". The Huffington Post. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  15. ^ "National AIDS Control Organisation of India approves TeachAIDS curriculum". TeachAIDS. 15 January 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  16. ^ "Karnataka government to implement TeachAIDS tutorials in 5,500 schools". TeachAIDS. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  17. ^ "UNICEF funds TeachAIDS work in Botswana". TeachAIDS. 2 June 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  18. ^ "TeachAIDS Educator Handbook: A Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Prevention Curriculum". SPICE. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 

External links[edit]