JSI RESOURCES: Publications

Keeping Girls in Secondary School as HIV Prevention: Insights from the Innovation Challenge – DREAMS IC Technical Brief


Adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in sub-Saharan Africa account for nearly three-quarters of new HIV infections (PEPFAR 2018). Keeping girls in school through secondary school is a key component of comprehensive HIV prevention for AGYW under the DREAMS initiative. Higher levels of education are associated with lower rates of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa (De Neve 2016, Hargreaves 2008). Students with poor school attendance are two-to-three times more likely to contract HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (Stoner 2017) than those with good attendance records. Educational attainment appears to be a protective factor against HIV infection because it is associated with delayed sexual debut and condom use (Zuilkowski 2011, Hargreaves 2008, Jukes 2008). Across East and southern Africa, girls whose families are poor, highly mobile, or foreign nationals, and those who are orphans or vulnerable children, live with disabilities, are mothers, and/or are forced out of school prematurely are more vulnerable to HIV (Mee 2018, UNAIDS 2016). For these girls and young women, completing high school reduces this vulnerability.

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