The impact of HIV and AIDS has been the subject of much speculation and concern. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, many researchers and analysts were predicting devastating impact on the ranks of teachers and the wholesale collapse of education systems. Since then, the evidence of many high-prevalence countries in southern Africa suggests that this impact has not been as dramatic as first feared and that the pandemic has not, in fact, decimated entire education systems. The author discusses this evidence in some detail and confirms that, while very large numbers of teachers have succumbed to the impact of HIV and AIDS, the accelerating roll-out of testing, counselling and antiretroviral treatment has significantly changed the face of the threat. But he also notes that after the first wave of HIV infection and the second wave of AIDS mortality, the education system is now faced with the third wave of orphaning and family dislocation. Second, the author talks about four possible national responses that could and should help to further mitigate and even prevent the impact of HIV on the education system. He stresses that HIV is only one of many factors that erode and assault education systems. For this reason, the impact of HIV must be analysed and understood as a systemic management problem rather than a parallel public health problem. This implies that the issue of HIV must be addressed in every aspect of education system - training, data capture, management and reporting.
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