School Attendance Might Reduce HIV Risk Among Youth in Rural South Africa, Study Says
January 18, 2008
Attending secondary school might help reduce the risk of HIV among youth in rural South Africa, according to a study published in the February issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the South African Press Association reports.
"Our study suggests that, in South Africa, being in school can shape young people's social networks, leading to less high-risk sexual behavior and therefore, lower rates of HIV infection," Hargreaves said. The researchers also recently conducted a review of 36 studies across sub-Saharan Africa that "came to the same conclusions" as the JECH study, he added. The review found that "across a number of countries, those with higher education may now be at lower risk of HIV infection, reversing previous trends," Hargreaves added.
Hargreaves also said that efforts aimed at changing social behavior can play an important role in HIV prevention and should not be overlooked. "There is a need to accelerate efforts to increase access to education, including secondary education, if we are going to make an impact on this epidemic," he said. Hargreaves said he is encouraged that African governments, the Group of Eight industrialized nations, the World Bank and others have committed to such goals (South African Press Association, 1/17).
The study is available online.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.