Gender and HIV/AIDS Mainstreaming in Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions: The Case of St. Mary’s University

Ergogie Tesfaye Wolde-Meskel


Studies in Africa and elsewhere indicate that students of higher institutions are highly exposed to many risky sexual behaviors including substance use, sexual compulsion and unsafe sex which predispose them to STIs including HIV/AIDS, unplanned pregnancy and unsafe abortion.

The problems of Gender and HIV/AIDS need to be addressed and solved or minimized to a larger extent in order to create favorable working condition and smooth teaching and learning process. In order to fight these problems, it is essential for higher education institutions to mainstream the issue of gender and HIV into their plans, programs and activities of the institutions through designing institutional policy and establishing strong monitoring and evaluation mechanism. It is believed that mainstreaming HIV and gender will contribute the lion’s share to alleviate HIV/AIDS and gender related problems that the youngsters in particular and the University Community as whole are facing currently.

Therefore, this study aims to point out the comprehensiveness, the quality and level of gender and HIV mainstreaming practice of St. Mary’s University to find out its contribution to the prevention and control of the pandemic and to address gender inequality in the University and in the education sector as a whole.

The study employed a qualitative method to garner primary data. The qualitative study involved two focus group discussions (one with students and one with staff of the University) and in‐depth interviews with the University officials and the surrounding community. The qualitative data was analyzed by thematic areas. In addition, documents and reports of the Gender and HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office (GHAPCO) were used as sources of secondary data

The result of this study implies that St. Mary’s has identified and taken HIV and Gender Issues as one of strategic priority areas and incorporate it in its second five year strategic plan(2005-2009EC). Besides, the University has started mainstreaming HIV and gender into the curriculum of the selected courses from each department. This really implies that the University is committed towards mainstreaming the issue of gender and HIV that helps to implement other activities on the prevention and control of the pandemic and maintain gender equality successfully.

In conclusion, as a responsible Higher Education Institution, using the good opportunities and finding new and innovative ways, the University is being committed to mainstream gender and HIV issues in all the institution’s structure to perform HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH)  interventions in a better and sustainable way. Moreover, in order to overcome the challenges and to take gender and HIV issues as a core business of the institution, the University should come up with effective strategies through creating different accesses. In this regard, St. Mary’s has to exert efforts to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of HIV and SRH service as well as gender sensitive and responsive programs in the University.



AAHAPCO                           Addis Ababa HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office

ARC                                       AIDS Resource Center

BCC                                       Behavioral Change Communication

BSS                                        Behavior Surveillance Survey

CBO/CBOs                           Community Based Organization/ Organizations

CC                         Community Conversation

CSA                        Central Statistics Authority

EDHS                     Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey

EHRC                   Ethiopian Human Rights Commission

FHAPCO                               Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office

FMOE                                    Federal Ministry of Education

FGDs                                      Focus Group Discussions

GBV                                       Gender Based Violence

GHAPCO                              Gender and HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office

HEIs                                       Higher Education Institutions

HIV/AIDS                             Human Immune Deficiency Virus/Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome

IEC                                         Information Education Communication

IGA                                        Income Generation Activities

NASTAD                               National Alliance of States and Territory of AIDS Directorate

NGOs                                     Non-Governmental Organizations

RH                                          Reproductive Health

SISTA                                    Sisters Informing Sisters on Topic about AIDS

SMU                                       St. Mary’s University

SPM                                       Strategic Plan Management

SRH                                       Sexual and Reproductive Health

STIs                                        Sexual Transmitted Infections

UNAIDS                                Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS

MARPs                                  Most at Risk Populations

PLHIV                                   People Living with HIV


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ISSN (Paper)2224-7181 ISSN (Online)2225-062X

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