Up to a Third of Zimbabwe Teachers Infected With HIV, Report Says
August 10, 2005
According to a report by a government-appointed education assessment team, Zimbabwe's teachers are no more knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS prevention than other adults in the beleaguered country. On Tuesday, the state-run Herald newspaper quoted the report as saying, "Teachers are at high risk of getting infected with HIV and AIDS, and already one-third of them are likely to be infected with the virus." Those statistics mirror Health Ministry figures showing that approximately 27 percent of Zimbabweans ages 18-49 are HIV-infected.
The report was presented at a workshop deliberating the introduction of HIV/AIDS awareness classes at teacher training colleges and into junior and secondary school curriculum.
Josiah Mahlangu, national commissioner for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Zimbabwe, said teachers have been mistakenly viewed as persons who merely deliver the curriculum, without keeping in mind that they too are at risk. "There seemed to be an assumption that the teachers are so knowledgeable about HIV and its transmission that they are willing to talk about it with their students, and that all teachers will make acceptable counselors and mentors," said Mahlangu.
Zimbabwe has an estimated 80,000 teachers and around 3.8 million children in school, although enrollment is believed to have dropped due to the country's current economic crisis. Just last week, school fees increased from 300 Zimbabwe dollars (two US cents) to 300,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($17 US).
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.