Can Church Schools Reduce Risk of HIV Infection for Orphan Girls in Zimbabwe?
04/06/07 - 06/30/15
The AIDS pandemic has led to the illness and death of millions of adults, and has also resulted in millions of orphans. This study examines the context of schooling and sexual debut among a particularly vulnerable group, adolescent orphan girls in Zimbabwe. The study uses a rigorous randomized controlled trial design to test whether modest support can retain orphan girls in school through the transition to high school and whether religious schooling adds greater protection than secular schooling for HIV risk behaviors. The Methodist Church provides an important infrastructure for education, as well as services for orphans, in Zimbabwe. The study specifically focuses on young female orphans because of their greater likelihood of HIV infection, greater likelihood of school dropout, and greater vulnerability to sexual abuse due to loss of parental protection.