The purpose of this desk-based research was to review policy with respect to the education of HIV-positive children and to examine how their education can be encouraged and supported in primary and secondary school settings. This was done through an appraisal of the scientifi c literature that had a bearing on the special needs of the children, and the public statements of national and international organizations dealing with the epidemic.
The study gave priority to educational issues but did not ignore the fact that HIV-positive learners and children need adequate medical support, nutrition and suitable home care in order to take advantage of educational opportunities. There are several key points emerging from the desk-based research that emphasise the vital importance of education and the education sector in tackling the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
There is growing evidence that health promotion activities can reduce the incidence of new infections, although the overall numbers of child infections remain disturbingly high in sub-Saharan Africa. At a time when the numbers of children in residential care in orphanages, cluster homes and shelters are increasing, a high proportion of these children are HIV-positive. The school, then, becomes an important adjunct to institutional care, guiding children through adolescence towards adulthood, and assisting them with emotional and learning problems. However, unless there is a reduction in the number of infections in highly endemic areas, all systems, including education, risk being overwhelmed