Key Words

Prevention, AIDS,

Introduction

HIV is today prevalent in all parts of the country with no cure or vaccine as of now in sight for HIV/AIDS, knowledge about prevention of the disease still remains the mainstay of containing this dreaded disease. In a span of two decades, since its first identification, HIV infection has become a pandemic and has posed a formidable challenge to mankind in almost all aspects of life. The alarming rate of its spread, the magnitude of its infection, long incubation period, lack of curative therapy and vaccine to prevent it mandates the acquisition of complete knowledge of HIV disease . This acquisition of knowledge is not only required for medical & paramedical personal, but also to some extent, to majority of population.

To tackle AIDS, prevention is the most effective and cheapest way out that must be given worldwide public health priority ..Prevention of HIV/ AIDS is possible through awareness and behavioural changes.3 The present study was conducted to check the level of AIDS awareness among the college students .

Materials and Methods

Present study was carried out in 12 colleges in Nagpur District. A total of 452 students were given a specially designed pre test questionnaire. The information was collected about the number of parameters which included routes of transmission, high risk groups, cure & its prevention. After collection of proforma a lecture was delivered explaining each & every aspect of the dreadful disease making them aware regarding HIV/AIDS using power point presentation.

Results

Most of the students were aware of AIDS as a disease since it is included in school syllabus. But only 66.81% could give the full form of AIDS and 44.69 % knew full form of HIV. Still it was encouraging to observe that 84.95 % students knew that causative agent is a virus. 433 students (95.79%) were aware of infection and they had received information from TV, radio, poster, Books.

xTable I

Information source

Source of Information. No. of students Percentage
Television 399 88.27 %
Text books 358 79.20 %
Newspaper 201 44.46 %
Friends 92 20.35 %

Table II

knowledge about causative agent

casitive agent No. of students %
Virus 284 84.95%
Bacteria 52 11.50%
Any other 16 3.53%

including information through TV & newspaper . As far as first source of information is concerned 88.27 % mentioned Television as an important & best source of information followed by Text books 79.20%. (Table I ) It was observed that majority of the students (84.95%) knew that HIV is caused by a virus. (Table II) 87.61 % stated that HIV could be Transmitted from mother to baby. Most of the students were unaware that persons can be infected by dental treatment. Still today 18.14% persons think that just by looking at someone we can tell whether he has HIV infection or not. (TableIII)

Table III : Routes of Transmission.

Though 69.02% know that there is no effective vaccine available but still some students 27.87% think that the vaccine is available in the market . Majority were aware that ( 86.72%) till today there is no effective cure for AIDS .(Table IV)

Table IV

Perception about HIV

YES (%) NO (%) Not known (%)
Availability of diagnostic Test 352 (77.87%) 8 (1.76 %) 92 (20.35 %)
Complete cure 44 (9.73%) 392 (86.72%) 16 (3.53%)
Availability of vaccine 126 (27.87%) 312 (69.02%) 14 (3.09%)

Discussion

AIDS is spreading in India at an alarming rate fuelled by an increasingly casual attitude towards sex, coupled with a tradition of public silence and reluctance to grasp the issues . Ignorance about the disease and how the virus is transmitted can generate fear & prejudice towards those who are infected. Information, education and communication are the major step in HIV prevention.9

In this study 88.27 % mentioned Television as an important & best source of information followed by Text books 79.20%. While in the study carried out by Malhotra et al 95.2% of the students mentioned television as an important and best source of information followed by friends and teachers to increase awareness about AIDS in the population. 3

Farid R. reported ninety five percent students had heard about HIV/AIDS and its presence in Pakistan, 61.7% students knew that HIV/AIDS is caused by germs and 91.2% knew about its transmissibility. Over 70% of students knew that HIV can be transmitted through sexual contact, infected blood transfusion and re use of infected needles. 6

In our study 433 students (95.79%) were aware of HIV infection, more than 80% students knew sexual contact and Blood transfusion as a mode of transmission of HIV and 64.60%were aware that intravenous drug users have more chances of getting HIV infection.

Hamzullah Khan in his study from Karachi among female students regarding AIDS, observed that 90% knew that it is sexually transmitted and 88% knew about the spread of HIV by the use of contaminated needles. He concluded that non medical students lacked awareness about the disease 4

Kore Shailesh In Mumbai found that knowledge about aids was quite less, even in college students. In this study etiology of AIDS/HIV was correctly known to 52.7% of male students and 4.89% students felt that AIDS can be transmitted by casual contact or handshake. 2 While in our study only 0.44% mentioned handshake as a mode of transmission.

Malhotra concluded that About 63.2% students knew HIV could be transmitted from mother to baby. 3 In our study 87.61 % stated that HIV could be Transmitted from mother to baby.

Non availability of vaccine for the preventation of HIV/AIDS was correctly stated by 51.78% of students in the study carried out by H.A.Khadilkar. 8 According to S.S.Lal Only 45% students knew that AIDS is not curable at present. This study identified substantial lacunae in the knowledge of and attitude towards AIDS among college students in Kerala.5 While Malhotra et al stated that 88.4% of the students were aware of the fact that till today there is no effective cure for AIDS.3 But R.Farid mentioned that 78.2% and 55.8% respectively knew that there is no cure or vaccine available for AIDS.6

In our study though 69.02% know that there is no effective vaccine available but still some students 27.87% think that the vaccine is available in the market . Majority were aware that ( 86.72%) till today there is no effective cure for AIDS .

HIV infection has become a common problem in India. Apart from having social implication , it has a drastic and devastating economic impact on the family, society and nation.2

As observed in this study awareness regarding transmission of infection is not satisfactory. Knowledge about availability of drug and vaccine is also poor.

The young adolescents come in the high risk group because of their propensity in indulging in risky sexual activity. Unfortunately at present even in most of the urban population the awareness about this dreaded disease is low. As the possibility of development of a vaccine for prevention of AIDS appears remote in the near future, efforts must be taken to improve the knowledge regarding prevention of HIV infection.