One of the ways in which AIDS is said to ravage the lives of young people is through its impact on education. Youth and their caregivers might respond to shortened life expectancy by investing less in schooling. No evidence has been presented for this hypothesis, however. Indeed, little is known about educational decision-making outside of a Western, industrialized context. This thesis examines educational decisionmaking in South Africa, and specifically tests the hypotheses that AIDS reduces the perceived value of education. The study combines quantitative and qualitative research, all conducted in the South African city of Cape Town.