Increased school attendance slashes HIV infection rates

A study has shown that increasing secondary school attendance lowers HIV infection rates among adults in Botswana, a country where one in four people aged between 18 and 49 are reportedly infected with the virus.

HIV in Botswana

A Botswana study has shown that increasing secondary school attendance lowers HIV infection rates among adults.

Author of the study and a global health researcher at Boston University in the United States, Jacob Bor, said education is a highly-effective and cost-efficient way of preventing HIV infection in countries with high prevalence of the virus.

The study showed that, especially amongst women, an extra year of schooling beyond the primary level reduced the chance of people getting infected by a third, SciDev reports.

Among those who attended an extra year of secondary school, which begins at 15, the risk of contracting the virus fell from 25·5 to 17·4 per cent, or by 8.1 (and 11.6 percentage points for girls).

Bor urged increased investment in education, adding that policy makers often ignore the health impacts of schooling.

"Investments in secondary schooling are a slam dunk and should go alongside biomedical interventions in any effective HIV prevention strategy," Bor said.

According to SciDev.Net, almost one in four of Botswanans aged between 18 and 49 are infected with the virus.

gy," Bor said.

According to SciDev.Net, almost one in four of Botswanans aged between 18 and 49 are infected with the virus.

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