Education International
Education International

World AIDS Day 2009: Teachers commitment strong as universal access deadline looms

published 1 December 2009 updated 1 December 2009

As 2010 the target year for the fulfilment of universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support approaches teacher unions around the world are using World AIDS Day 2009 as an opportunity to redouble their work on AIDS and equally to petition governments to make the investment necessary to overcome the AIDS crisis.

EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen called on teachers to reinvigorate their work, stressing, “Education is at the centre of any meaningful response to the AIDS crisis. Without education for prevention and behaviour change, the burden of treatment will be immense. Teachers unions are stepping up and playing their part, I urge governments everywhere not to renege on their commitments.”

EI members around the globe are stepping up their activism and marking World AIDS Day through assemblies, marches and cultural events to support the 33.5 million people living with HIV globally. Many teachers and unionists will be highlighting the importance of education for prevention, as they lead their students and colleagues in the EI One Hour on AIDS lesson, now available in over 20 languages including Arabic and Shona.

Through the EI EFAIDS Programme teacher unions in almost 50 countries work throughout the year on advocacy and training members in HIV prevention, educating for inclusion and supporting those living with HIV. ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’ is the theme for World AIDS Day 2009. Denis Burke, World AIDS Day Coordinator at the World AIDS Day Campaign explained “universal access to HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support is a fundamental human right and must be an integral aspect of how we tackle HIV and AIDS now and in the future.”

He continued, “Teachers and unions play a unique role in promoting and supporting national and international efforts to raise awareness and to educate on HIV and AIDS in, and through, the world of education.”

To access the One Hour on AIDS lesson and more resources on HIV and AIDS, visit www.ei-ie.org/efaids.