London school children to be taught HIV awareness

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The first mainstream HIV and AIDS GCSE teaching module aimed at school children is being launched in 2007.

Crusaid, which supports people affected by HIV in the UK and Africa, will roll out 1,500 media kits to schools across London. The packs are designed to encourage students to devise their own AIDS awareness campaigns and will be the first time that an HIV/AIDS awareness module has been created for the mainstream English curriculum.

“HIV education in our schools is extremely unsatisfactory,” says Iain Sankey, Head of English at Lilian Baylis Technology School in Lambeth. “The Crusaid AWARE Media Kit allows students to continue working towards their English qualifications whilst also learning important personal lessons which will enable them to make informed decisions about their sexual health for their future.”

The introduction of the Crusaid kits to London schools follows a successful pilot scheme involving eight schools during the 2005/06 school term. Crusaid has funded the pilot project and distribution to London schools with a view to encouraging the government to provide funding for national distribution.

“This is a vital step toward a national HIV and AIDS prevention drive in schools,” says Steven Inman, Head of Grants and Projects at Crusaid. “Teachers involved in the pilot have welcomed the pack, which tackles the sensitive subject of HIV and AIDS as part of regular coursework, making it easier for children and adults to discuss these issues openly.

“Crusaid will continue to push HIV and AIDS education until a suitable programme is running in every school in the UK.”

The Aware! School kits will be launched on Wednesday 1st November from 6pm at the British Council, 10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN.