XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Harmonization of public policies on sexual education and HIV/AIDS prevention in schools in the MERCOSUL: an example of a successful regional cooperation against HIV/AIDS

C. Herlt1, P. Chequer2, C. Passarelli3

1GTZ, Brasília, Brazil, 2UNAIDS, Brasilia, Brazil, 3ICTC, Brasilia, Brazil

Issues: In Latin America one especially alarming trend is the increase of new HIV infections among teenagers and young adults. In addition, the “Regional Consultation on Universal Access to Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support”, held in 2006, highlighted that countries in this region had scarce coverage and low budgets for HIV prevention focused on children, teenagers and young adults.To tackle this situation, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay jointly agreed to implement the project “Harmonization of Public Policies on Sexual Education and HIV/AIDS Prevention in Schools in the MERCOSUL”.
Description: At a regional workshop, hosted by GTZ, UNAIDS and ICTC in 2007, a regional project was defined and later, based upon the general objectives defined therein, each country elaborated a national plan with a particular work plan. Based on this, in 2008 and 2009, activities on sexual education and HIV prevention were carried out in each country. Regularly, regional meetings for the monitoring of progresses and the exchange of experiences were held.
Lessons learned: At political level regional cooperation proved to be strategic to an increased commitment from countries in providing sexual education as a tool for HIV prevention.
At technical level the exchange of experiences, methods and know-how between countries proved to be an efficient tool for scaling-up sexual education and HIV prevention in schools, since many of the countries face similar challenges regarding these issues. Horizontal technical cooperation activities have encouraged the development of new and innovative tools for HIV prevention.
Next steps: Guidelines, methodologies and provisions, developed during the project, will be used for nationwide implementation of sexual education and HIV Prevention. As the initial work plans have already been implemented, each country will develop a new plan for 2010-11. The project is now linked to the follow-up process of the “Minister´s Declaration on Prevention”, Mexico 2008.

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