Tag Archives: HIV-infection risk

Study Suggests Continuing Secondary Schooling for Girls Reduces Risk of HIV Infection

© Trapped in School CC- BY 2014 Francesco Volpi

By Martha Henry

Educating young women has many health and economic benefits, but does continued schooling reduce a young woman’s risk of HIV infection? A study conducted in Botswana suggests that it does. The results, published in The Lancet Global Health, showed that secondary school students who stayed in school for an extra year had an 8 percentage point lower risk of HIV infection about a decade later, from 25% to about 17% infected. The effects were especially strong among young women, with an additional year of secondary schooling reducing infection risk by 12 percentage points.

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Profile: Rebeca Plank

Rebeca Plank with her parents in Bahia, Brazil
Rebeca Plank with her parents in Bahia, Brazil

By Martha Henry

If it hadn’t been for public health, Rebeca Plank might not have been conceived. Her parents met at a medical conference in the late 1960s.

Her father, Stephen Plank, a physician from the U.S., did his medical residency in the Panama Canal Zone. While there, he was dismayed to discover that he had to send people out from the hospital to the same conditions that had brought them there in the first place. He began to understand that while clinical medicine was important, the best way to make a lasting difference in people’s lives was to address root problems. He went back to school and earned a doctorate from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Continue reading