(Redirected from TeachAIDS)

Coordinates: 37°25′19″N 122°12′40″W / 37.421844°N 122.211066°W / 37.421844; -122.211066

TeachAids (pronounced /ˌtˈdz/) is a nonprofit social enterprise that develops global HIV prevention education technology products, based on an approach invented through research at Stanford University.[1][2]


TeachAids Logo
FoundersPiya Sorcar
Clifford Nass
Shuman Ghosemajumder
Ashwini Doshi
TypeU.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit
FocusHIV/AIDS education technology
OriginsStanford University
Area served
Key people
Piya Sorcar (CEO)

The TeachAids software has been cited as a model health intervention.[3][4] Since the materials bypass issues of stigma, they allow HIV prevention education to be provided to communities where it has previously not been allowed.[5][6] In other communities, the tutorials provide the highest learning effects and comfort rates of any tested educational approach.[7]

The TeachAids products are animated, interactive software tutorials, developed for individual cultures and languages, and incorporating the voices of celebrities from each region. In India, these include national icons such as Amitabh Bachchan,[8] Shabana Azmi,[9] Akkineni Nagarjuna[10] and Sudeep Ssanjeev. In Botswana, they include musicians Scar, Zeus, and former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae.[11]

TeachAids operates globally, with its software in use in more than 80 countries.[4] Its materials are made available for free under a Creative Commons License,[12] funded by sponsorships, grants, and donations. Backers include Barclays,[13] Cigna,[14] Covington & Burling,[15] Google, Microsoft, UNICEF,[16] and Yahoo!.


Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae (right), a TeachAids advisor, helped bring the tutorials to Botswana.

TeachAids began in 2005 as a research project at Stanford University. From 2005 to 2009, a new interdisciplinary approach to HIV/AIDS education was developed through IRB-approved research by Piya Sorcar.[17] Key advisors included professors Shelley Goldman (Learning Sciences), Martin Carnoy (Comparative Education), Cheryl Koopman (Psychiatry), Randall Stafford (Epidemiology), and Clifford Nass (Communication).[7]

The project's goal was to find a way to address the frequently taboo subjects associated with sexual issues and HIV/AIDS specifically. One major finding was that 2D cartoon figures were the optimal balance between comfort and clarity in terms of visual representation for sex-related topics.[7][18] On that basis, animated storyboards were created which emphasized the biological aspects of HIV transmission and used cultural euphemisms to overcome social stigma.[19] In addition, specific pedagogical techniques (e.g., instructional scaffolding) were utilized to create a coherent conception of HIV transmission for learners, as opposed to the fragmented knowledge created by mass media campaigns.[20]

Early research versions of the software were sponsored by Time Warner, the Government of South Korea, and Neeru Khosla, and used custom illustrations drawn by Sorcar's father, award-winning animator Manick Sorcar.[20] Pilot versions were subsequently created in English, Hindi, Kinyarwanda, Mandarin, and Spanish. Additional experts contributed to the design and evaluation of the materials, including Stanford professors David Katzenstein (Infectious Disease), Douglas Owens (Medicine), and Roy Pea (Learning Sciences).[21]

TeachAids was spun out of Stanford in 2009 as an independent 501(c)(3) organization, co-founded by Piya Sorcar, Clifford Nass, Shuman Ghosemajumder, and Ashwini Doshi.[4] It began developing its infrastructure and new versions of its software for additional countries and languages around the world. The first additional versions of the software in Indian English, Telugu, and Tswana were launched in 2010.[22]

Celebrity partnersEdit

TeachAIDS character of Amitabh Bachchan (left); Bachchan in 2013 TeachAids recording session (right)

The TeachAids interactive software implements animated avatars of cultural icons to improve pedagogical efficacy. Over time, numerous international actors, musicians, and celebrities have lent their voices and likenesses to the TeachAids materials.[21] These include:

The TeachAids advisory board includes film director Mahesh Bhatt, HIV/AIDS treatment pioneer Nimmagadda Prasad, Global Fund for Women founder Anne Firth Murray, and former President of Botswana Festus Mogae. Actress Amala Akkineni is a trustee of TeachAids in India.[21]

Worldwide useEdit

Suriya at a TeachAIDS campaign
Actress Anushka Shetty in 2013 TeachAIDS recording session

The TeachAids tutorials are available for free online and are used in more than 80 countries around the world, distributed by over 200 partner organizations.[4] Numerous AIDS service organizations, AIDS education and training centers, NGOs, and government agencies distribute and utilize the tutorials as part of their own HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.[21] Some of the organizations partnered with TeachAids include CARE, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and the U.S. Peace Corps.

In India, the National AIDS Control Organisation approved the TeachAids materials in January, 2010,[2][25] marking the first time HIV/AIDS education could be provided decoupled from sex education. Later that year, the Government of Karnataka approved the materials for their state of 50 million and committed to distributing them in 5,500 government schools.[26] In Assam, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi helped launched TeachAids.[14] Odisha,[23] Andhra Pradesh,[27] and other Indian states have also joined with official support and distribution.

Screenshot from the TeachAIDS software

In Botswana, the TeachAids tutorials were adopted nationally as the standard method for HIV/AIDS education. In 2011, the Ministry of Education began distributing the tutorials to every primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institution in the country, reaching all learners from 6 to 24 years of age nationwide. June 15 in Botswana was declared "National TeachAIDS Day".[4][13]

In the United States, the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education distributes the tutorials on CD along with a custom educator handbook, both of which are made available at no cost.[28]

The creation of TeachAids has been cited as an important innovation in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal for combating the spread of HIV/AIDS.[29]

In 2012, TeachAids was named one of 12 global laureates by The Tech Awards,[30][31] referred to as the "Nobel prize of tech philanthropy".[32]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mahafreed Irani (24 September 2011). "Moving pictures, moving minds". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  2. ^ a b Paromita Pain (5 September 2011). "Overcoming barriers through technology". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  3. ^ Parker, Jerry C.; Thorson, Esther (2008). Health Communication in the New Media Landscape. New York, NY: Springer Publishing. p. 393. ISBN 978-0-8261-0122-8.
  4. ^ a b c d e Max McClure (25 July 2012). "Stanford-affiliated nonprofit sets standard for AIDS education". Stanford University. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  5. ^ "TR35: Piya Sorcar: Software that can be localized to teach taboo topics". MIT Technology Review. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
  6. ^ "Star touch to animated film on HIV/AIDS". The New Indian Express. 27 November 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b c Piya Sorcar (1 March 2009). "Teaching Taboo Topics Without Talking About Them: An Epistemic Study of a New Approach to HIV/AIDS Prevention Education in India". Stanford University. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Amitabh Bachchan Joins S.F. Bay Area Nonprofit TeachAids". India West. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  9. ^ "Animated film to educate students on HIV". The Times of India. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Animation lessons on HIV/AIDS awareness released". The Hindu. 27 November 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  11. ^ "Former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, joins TeachAIDS Advisory Board". TeachAIDS. 16 September 2010. Archived from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  12. ^ Cat Johnson (14 January 2015). "10 Game-Changing Projects from Creative Commons' Team Open". Shareable. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Barclays: Supporting our Communities". Barclays. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Tech Laureate TeachAIDS Expands in India". India West. 21 October 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Public Service Activities 2011" (PDF). Covington & Burling. 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  16. ^ "UNICEF Botswana Annual Report 2010" (PDF). UNICEF. 20 July 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  17. ^ Anya Kamenetz (10 April 2013). "Research finally shows that online education works—for sex, alcohol, and health". NBC News. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  18. ^ "Treating Africa's Biggest Diseases" (PDF). The California Tech. 5 May 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 August 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  19. ^ "Let's NOT Talk About Sex, Baby". New America Media. 1 December 2007. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  20. ^ a b Handbook of Research on Digital Media and Advertising. Matthew Eastin, Terry Daugherty, Neal Burns. Information Science Reference, July 31, 2010. ISBN 1-60566-792-7. Chapter: Teaching Taboo Topics Through Technology.
  21. ^ a b c d "About TeachAids". TeachAIDS. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  22. ^ "A New Approach to Global HIV/AIDS Education". The Huffington Post. 1 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  23. ^ a b c d "Hush-Hush Topic Gets a Voice". The Telegraph. 22 November 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  24. ^ "Shruti Haasan lends her voice for AIDS awareness". Indian Express. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  25. ^ "National AIDS Control Organisation of India approves TeachAIDS curriculum". TeachAIDS. 15 January 2010. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2010.
  26. ^ "Karnataka government to implement TeachAIDS tutorials in 5,500 schools". TeachAIDS. 7 June 2010. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  27. ^ "Partnership between APSACS and TeachAIDS". Andhra Pradesh State AIDS Control Society. 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  28. ^ "TeachAIDS Educator Handbook: A Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Prevention Curriculum". 16 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  29. ^ Whyte, Talia; Nakello, Marjane (2015). Millennium Development Goals Technology Road Map. New York, NY: Global Wire Books. p. 10. ASIN B00R5D2Z6C.
  30. ^ "The Tech Awards Laureate: TeachAIDS". The Tech Awards. 2012. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  31. ^ "28 Award Winners Highlight Innovation in Social Entrepreneurship". Forbes. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  32. ^ "Tech Museum chooses honorees for annual awards". San Jose Mercury News. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 9 July 2015.

External linksEdit