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The education sector plays a key "external" role in preventing and reducing the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. It also plays an important "internal" role in providing access to care, treatment, and support for teachers and education staff, a group that in many countries represents more than 60 percent of the public sector workforce. The education sector can also have a critically important positive effect on the future: Even in the worst-affected countries, most schoolchildren are not infected. For these children, there is a chance to live lives free from AIDS if they can be educated on the knowledge and values that can protect them as they grow up. The authors of 'Accelerating the Education Sector Response to HIV' explore the experiences of education sectors across Sub-Saharan Africa as they scale up their responses to HIV/AIDS within the Accelerate Initiative Working Group, established in 2002 by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Inter-Agency Task Team on Education. This book demonstrates that leadership by the ministries of education and commitment from key development partners are crucial for mobilizing activities and that full participation of all stakeholders is required for effective implementation. This book summarizes the experiences of technical Focal Points from the 37 ministries of education in Sub-Saharan Africa, which are represented on the sub-regional networks for HIV and Education. These experiences prove that the education sector response can play a crucially important role in the multisectoral national responses to this epidemic.
'Courage and Hope' gives voice to the real life experiences of 12 HIV-positive teachers-5 of whom are women-from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zambia. The teachers recount their experiences of discovering their HIV-positive status and how this has affected them in their families, their communities, and their professional lives. When one teacher discovered she was HIV-positive, she lost everything-her husband, her children, and her home. Now she is receiving treatment, has returned to teaching, and has reestablished her home with her children. Another teacher lost her husband to AIDS and then lost her home. She is now living positively, working to overcome stigma among students and teaching staff. The voices of these teachers suggest that a number of obstacles are commonly faced by teachers living with HIV. Paramount among them are stigma and discrimination, within their families and communities, as well as in their workplaces and society in general. The difficulties of overcoming these perceptions are complicated by a lack of confidentiality in medical facilities and the workplace. 'Courage and Hope: African Teachers Living Positively with HIV', supplied on the DVD, is a documentary film produced in 2008 in which teachers tell their own stories in their own words. Whether presented via video or print, the story of each teacher demonstrates a wide range of challenges as well as insights and successes, while also suggesting ways to more effectively address these challenges. These truly are stories of courage and hope.
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