BRUSSELS, November 29 /PRNewswire/ -- To mark World AIDS Day, Education International is challenging educators around the world to teach the same lesson in "One Hour on AIDS." The aim is to create a great global learning experience that will increase awareness of the disease and show solidarity with the millions of people who are suffering from it.

Education International has been at the forefront of AIDS prevention through education for a number of years, and now delivers its programme in 46 different countries through the work of members in 71 affiliated unions.

EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen said that teachers are determined to confront the HIV and AIDS pandemic in their classrooms because they see its devastation in their communities.

"Teachers are confronted with the human tragedy of HIV and AIDS in their classrooms every day," van Leeuwen said. "We see it in the eyes of children who have lost one or both parents, in the empty desks of colleagues who have passed away. We feel the terrible impact of HIV all around us and this makes us all the more determined to fight it."

At the same time, he said, teachers recognise the enormous potential in their hands to stop the spread of HIV through education. "That is the commitment of EI and its affiliated teacher organisations on World AIDS Day," van Leeuwen added.

To that end, EI has created an activity kit to help teachers teach about HIV and AIDS. It contains introductory materials, a one-hour lesson plan that can be adapted to the age of students, and a "Take the Lead" poster that highlights the way teachers and students can take action against AIDS. The activity kit is available on the EI website in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Please go to: http://www.ei-ie.org/efaids/en/campaigns_wad.php

Van Leeuwen stressed that this week's lesson should be only the beginning of an ongoing learning process so that children around the world can gain the information they need to keep themselves safe from the virus.

"We believe education is the most effective social vaccine against HIV," he said. "As our campaign slogan says: We want to spread the word, not the virus!"

Press contact: Nancy Knickerbocker at +32-476-85-07-01 or Nancy.Knickerbocker@ei-ie.org