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As national education programs incorporate HIV prevention into school curricula, policymakers and educators need to know what they can expect from these initiatives. Can such courses influence the behavior of students as well as their knowledge and attitudes? If not, what can these courses reasonably be expected to accomplish, and what part can they play in overall HIV programming for youth? To help answer these questions, the Medical Research Council of South Africa and the Horizons Program studied the Life Skills Grade 9 Curriculum, a school-based HIV/AIDS initiative, as it was introduced in the Pietermaritzburg region of KwaZulu Natal Province in 2001. The 16-hour Grade 9 Curriculum is taught at least once a week over two school terms as part of the Life Orientation subject. The national and provincial South African departments of education, health, and social welfare collaborated on the curriculum design, teacher training, and course introduction. Horizons assessed the life skills program in KwaZulu Natal using both a population-based survey and an evaluation of the course curriculum. This brief focuses on the impact of the curriculum that was being introduced to ninth-grade students.






Horizons Program