HIV/AIDS and TB > Children & Youth and HIV/AIDS > Dealing with HIV/AIDS in Schools
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Dealing with HIV/AIDS in Schools

The South African Schools Act says that schools must admit all learners and must not discriminate against any learner. Thus a child cannot be excluded from a school only because of his/her HIV status. This is the law for private and government schools. The Constitution also says that everyone has the right to a basic education. If a child is stopped from going to school because of his/her HIV status, this can be challenged in court.

Parents do not have to tell the school authorities if their child has HIV, even if the school asks them to fill this in on the application form. Schools are also not allowed to test learners for HIV before they are admitted to the school or while they are at school. A learner cannot be tested for HIV without his or her consent (if over 12 years) and/or a parent’s or guardian’s consent (if younger than 12 years.)

With the increasing numbers of learners and teachers becoming infected with HIV and AIDS, it is important for all schools to have an HIV/AIDS policy so that:

  • The rights of all learners and teachers are respected
  • Learners and teachers with HIV are managed in an appropriate way
  • Further HIV infection is prevented
  • A non-discriminatory and caring learning environment is created