WITH HIV/Aids, teenage pregnancy and school drop-out on the increase, the Department of Basic Education recently launched a programme - Keeping Girls in School.The programme aims to see a decrease in new HIV infections in girls and young women, a decrease in teen pregnancies and the retention of girls in school until matric.Girls from identified schools receive peer and health education, homework assistance, home visits, career jamborees for Grade 9 pupils and have access to health care systems at mobile clinics. “Two mobile clinics per district, staffed by two full-time nurses, will be linked to 25 schools,” said Megan Reuvers production manager at Miet Africa, the implementors of the programme. The clinics will provide HIV testing, and CD4 tests for girls who test positive as well as pregnancy testing, STI and TB diagnosis and treatment, and contraception, where possible. “Gender inequality is a key structural driver of the HIV epidemic in South Africa. Young women between 15 and 24 are four times more likely to have been infected with HIV than young men of the same age. “It is with this in mind that the Department of Basic Education launched the Keeping Girls in School programme,” said Reuvers.