School based HIV prevention programmes are a low-cost and important opportunity to reach a large number of adolescent girls – as well as boys – with information, communication as well as access to condoms. They have been shown to affect knowledge, self-esteem, attitudes and norms as well as impact on delay of sexual debut, increased condom use and reduced sexual partners.
Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) should be integrated into all school curricula and should include information on HIV prevention, treatment and care, as well as respect for human rights, sexual diversity and gender equality.
CASE STUDY: School-based HIV prevention campaigns in Kenya and Zimbabwe
In western Kenya and Zimbabwe - countries with high HIV incidence among young women - comprehensive sexuality education, complemented by specific school-based HIV prevention activities and campaigns, was shown to decrease unprotected sex with older male partners, amongst young women.
The project provided a simple session informing young women about HIV prevalence among male partners of different ages, the implications for HIV risk for young women, and basic HIV prevention methods. In western Kenya, the project was shown to reduce teenage pregnancy by 28% and teenage pregnancy from an older partner by over 60 %. The Kenya study suggests that this specific information, which was previously not communicated to young women, was sufficient for them to choose condom-protected sex with same-age partners with greater frequency.
The organisation has the capacity to develop a curriculum relevant to the country context, which takes a human rights-based approach, is evidence-based, non-discriminatory and promotes gender equality, including how power inequalities in relationships influence the ability of individuals to protect their health.
The organisation has the capacity to integrate comprehensive sexuality education into school curricula.
The organisation can implement supporting teacher training to ensure that comprehensive sexuality education is provided in a safe environment. There is also need for M&E on this component.