Awareness about the mode of transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS in adolescents: A college-based study
Rama Sandeep Reddy
Introduction: Globally, almost of a quarter of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are under the age of 25 years In India, 35% of all reported AIDS cases are among the age group of 15-24 years, indicating the vulnerability of the younger population to the epidemic. India is having a large population with low literacy levels leading to a low level of awareness of HIV/AIDS. Maharastra is among the four high prevalence states of South India (Andhra Pradesh – 500,000, Maharashtra – 420,000, Karnataka – 250,000, Tamil Nadu – 150,000) which account for 46 % of all HIV infections in the country. Inspite of being a major health problem there are no studies done to gauge the awareness among the student community The present study was conducted in urban area compromising of both private and government aided junior colleges. Private college students mostly compromised of children from well-educated and effluent families. They are expected to be well informed about HIV/AIDS through better schooling and exposure through media (T.V,Internet). Government aided college students coming from lower socio-economic families are expected to be ignorant in various aspects of HIV/AIDS. So, the present study is expected to aptly provide results that give us deficiency of knowledge levels in adolescents. It would also aptly give the differences among the compared groups. Materials and MethodsDesign of the Study: Community based cross – sectional observational study Period of Study: One year from july 2017 to july 2018 Study Population: A total of 1722 students in the age group of 14-18 years from junior colleges in karad, satara district maharastra were enrolled in the study. Students were surveyed from two government aided and two private junior colleges. Students willing for the survey were enrolled in the study. Method: Predesigned questionnaire containing a total of 24 questions was used for the study. These questions were designed to assess the knowledge of students on mode of transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS. Questionnaire also included questions to assess their awareness of counselling, testing and treatment facilities for HIV/AIDS in their district. The consent of the participants was taken initially explaining to them the purpose of the study. Students were assured about the confidentiality of their answers. Statistical Methods: Data was tabulated and analyzed using SPSS 16.0 software. P value <0.05 was considered as significant. Results: A total of 1722 students were enrolled in our study. Observations and results are as follows. In the present study, it was found that 1335 students (77.5%) knew that avoiding multiple sexual partners is an effective preventive measure of HIV/AIDS.79%,68.5% and 65% students were aware of prevention of HIV by usage of condoms, screening blood before transfusion and treatment of HIV infected pregnant women respectively. Private college students had better knowledge regarding preventive measures in comparison to their government aided counterparts. Conclusions and Summary 1. In the study population major source of information about HIV/AIDS for the first time was school (83.8%). 2. Students had good knowledge about blood transfusion, infected needles, sexual contact and mother to child modes of transmission of HIV/AIDS.But their knowledge levels about transmission of HIV/AIDS through breastfeeding were low. 3. Level of knowledge about HIV/AIDS transmission is higher among private college students and boys compared with government aided college students and girls respectively. 4. Knowledge levels among students about preventive strategies of HIV/AIDS is low compared with their knowledge about modes of transmission. 5. In all aspects, level of knowledge is low particularly in government aided college girls.