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Since very early in the epidemic, education has been identified as central to an effective response. Three different kinds of education can be distinguished: education for HIV prevention, education about treatment, and education to prevent or mitigate the negative effects of the epidemic. This article also considers three different contexts in which education takes place: in schools, at the level of specific groups and across society as a whole. Some 30 years into the epidemic, it is vital that the potential of education is more fully recognized and embraced, not only by agencies and individuals with special expertise in the field (although this is essential), but also by everyone seeking to contribute to the ambitious goals of zero new infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.