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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 68-72
 

Measuring knowledge about HIV among youth: Baseline survey for urban slums of Vadodara


Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Government Medical College, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
P V Kotecha
A2Z Project India, Academy for Educational Development, New Delhi - 110 022
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0253-7184.48727

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   Abstract 

Objectives: To assess the baseline knowledge and awareness among young men and women about HIV and its transmission in the Vadodara urban areas and to make a comparison between young men and women about the knowledge of HIV. Methodology: Thirty urban clusters (slums) were selected using the cluster sampling technique. Three hundred and fifty young men and 563 young women, in the age group of 15 - 24 years, were selected after taking consent. Results and Discussion: The family was the most common source of information for reproductive health information. About 72% of the men and 47% of the women had heard about HIV. Television, radio and newspapers (mass media) were the most common source of information, as suggested by young men and women. Responses for knowledge regarding mode of transmission were sexual acts followed by needle and blood transfusion. Sixty-four percent of the youth responded that it could be prevented. Three-fourth of the men and half the women thought HIV could be prevented. For preventing HIV, having a single partner, using condoms, avoiding commercial sexual workers, and blood checkups were the commonest methods mentioned both by men and women. Only 50% knew that HIV could be present in apparently healthy looking persons. Recommendations: It demands systematic education efforts with complete, correct, and comprehensive scientific information offered to them in an environment that is acceptable to them and conducive to their learning ability.


Keywords: HIV, HIV awareness, youth reproductive health


How to cite this article:
Kotecha P V, Patel S. Measuring knowledge about HIV among youth: Baseline survey for urban slums of Vadodara. Indian J Sex Transm Dis 2008;29:68-72

How to cite this URL:
Kotecha P V, Patel S. Measuring knowledge about HIV among youth: Baseline survey for urban slums of Vadodara. Indian J Sex Transm Dis [serial online] 2008 [cited 2020 Aug 13];29:68-72. Available from: http://www.ijstd.org/text.asp?2008/29/2/68/48727



   Introduction Top


The Indian National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) [1] estimates that 5.21 million people were living with HIV in 2005, giving an adult prevalence of 0.91%. This represents a slight increase from the 2004 estimate, and a substantial increase from 4.58 million in 2002. The state of Gujarat has a total population of 50.5 million. With UNICEF's support, the Government is initiating education packages for awareness generation and intervention packages through Voluntary Organizations and Government Organizations, for prevention of HIV/AIDS, as it is essential to know the basic level of knowledge of the youth in the state. This knowledge will decide the content of education packages that we need to offer and will also work as a baseline tool to study the impact of packages offered at a later date. It is with this background that the present study is proposed for urban Vadodara.

Objective of the study

  1. To assess the baseline knowledge and awareness among young men and women about HIV and its transmission in the Vadodara urban areas.
  2. Make a comparison between young men and women about the knowledge of HIV.



   Materials and methods Top


A complete list of the existing slum areas of Vadodara city was obtained from the Vadodara Municipal Corporation, including the latest data available on the number of households for each slum. A listing of all the 399 clusters with the number of households in each was made. Then a cumulative frequency total of the households was made for these clusters. A total of 102,898 households were recorded. Now, for selecting the clusters, the total number of households was divided by 30 to obtain the class interval of 3430. A single random number was generated using the last four digits of a ten-rupee note between 1 and 3430. This was 0222. The cluster which represented this number was picked up as the first cluster and by adding the class interval of 3430 and identifying the respective cluster represented by that number the subsequent clusters were selected. This was repeated till 30 such clusters were selected. Thus the selection of the clusters was based on the systematic random sample drawn from the list with a probability of the cluster's selection, based on the size, i.e., number of households' in that cluster. In the second stage of selection 60 households were identified to be surveyed. This ensured that every household selected had an identical probability of being selected. Each cluster, where the households on record exceeded 150, was divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant's total houses were recorded and taking a random number using a currency note, the survey was initiated at that numbered house and continued in one direction till 15 houses were completed from that quadrant. From all quadrants women between the ages of 15 and 24 were interviewed for HIV-related questions. For young boys in the age group 15-24, three boys were included in each quadrant or 12 boys in the cluster (slum), depending upon the size of the cluster. Responses of a total of 350 young men and 563 young women were obtained in urban area.

Data collection

A basic training session, including discussion regarding proforma, in the vernacular language and trial data collection were conducted. A total of six teams participated. The data was collected in the month of June 2006. The data were then entered in the computer and analyzed using the Epi-Info. [2]

Consent of the participants

All participating youth were briefly explained the purpose of the study and were asked whether they were willing to share the information. On their approval for participation, they were asked about the information that they wanted to share. They were also free not to reply to part of the information, as they chose not to answer some of the questions, either due to inhibitions or due to lack of knowledge. This would be difficult to differentiate and for ethical reasons it was not probed further. Revealing their identity was optional and they were free not to disclose their names.


   Result and Discussion Top


Source of information for reproductive health-related information was variable between youth. Men and women mentioned that family was the first important source, with almost 61% of the total youth mentioning family as an important source. However, peers as the important source, was mentioned by 38% of the male against 21% of the female youths [Table 1]. Peers are a distinct group referred more by male members than females as a source of information.

These young men and women were then asked whether they had ever heard about HIV. Seventy-two percent of the men, while only 47% of the women admitted to having heard about HIV. The most aware group was men [Table 2]. Whether women really did not know or preferred to mention that they did not know is difficult to differentiate fully.

Subsequently these men and women, who mentioned that they had heard of HIV, were asked further questions about their source of information, from where they had heard about HIV. A much smaller proportion of women than men stated that they had heard about HIV, and the information was obtained from these groups. It was important that the denominator now was those who had heard about HIV. Television, radio, and newspapers (mass media) happened to be the most common source of information for both men and women, and surprisingly teachers and health workers were not that common a source of information for HIV [Figure 1].

Young men and women were then asked what the mode of transmission was by asking the question, "Do you think one can get HIV/AIDS from someone who has HIV/AIDS?" The responses were noted without prompting them for answers. The knowledge of modes of transmission, among those who had heard about HIV, mentioned the sexual act as the most common mode of transmission, followed by needle and blood transfusion. However, hug, kiss, utensils, mosquito bites, and clothes all appeared in the list of mode of transmission, although in smaller proportions, [Table 3]. About 13-23% of the boys and girls did not know how it was transmitted more among girls than among boys.

When enquired whether HIV infection could be prevented, over 64% of the youth responded that it could be prevented. Three-fourth of the men and half the women thought it could be prevented. What was noteworthy, however, was that a large proportion of 25% did not know whether HIV could be prevented and the group was largest at 35% among girls [Table 4]. It is important to keep in mind that the denominator here is among those who said they have heard about HIV.

Those who mentioned that HIV could be prevented, were further asked various ways by which HIV could be prevented. They had the option of giving multiple answers and all of them were recorded. Having single partner, using condoms, avoiding commercial sexual workers, and blood checkups were the commonest methods mentioned by both men and women [Table 5]. It was interesting however to note that the commonest answer among men and women was single partner. Some also suggested avoiding pregnancy and abstinence.

We know that HIV infection can be present without disease manifestation and that people may be HIV positive and living an otherwise normal life. The youth were asked to what extent this information was clear to them. This question was asked to only those who had mentioned that they had heard about HIV. [Table 6] shows that only 50% knew that HIV could be present in apparently healthy looking persons. A large number of young men and women did not know that an apparently healthy looking person could have HIV infection.

Women are inherently at higher risk than men to acquire infection when there is a sexual contact with a HIV positive partner. This risk is almost twice as high and that is the reason why a number of women who are found positive catch up with male partners despite a relatively less risky behavior among women in general. To know what the young men and women think about it, they were asked whether women are at higher risk. The responses are summarized in [Table 7]. Only about one-fourth of the urban youth who had heard about HIV knew that women were at higher risk. The majority either did not know about it or thought that they were not at a higher risk of infection.


   Conclusions Top


The family was the common most source of information followed by health provider and peers. School was NOT a common source, wherein the syllabus does cover all this information. Part of this is due not only to the fact that not all young women and men attend schools, but also because schools teachers shy away from providing this information.

Fifty-three percent of young women and 28% of young men had not even heard about HIV. This calls for immediate intervention, to make them aware about this fast growing infection, to enable them to take protective steps.

Those who had heard about HIV, found TV, Radio, and newspapers (accounting to over 75%) the commonest source of HIV information, with doctors, health workers, and teachers at a much lower level (less than 10%), indicating the role of mass media in spreading messages and inhibitions among teachers in talking about HIV. So we need to educate not only the youth, but also those dealing with youth like parents and teachers.

Those who had heard about HIV, when enquired about the mode of transmission, knew the major modes of transmission were the sexual act, needle, blood transfusion, etc. However, a small proportion continued to believe that kiss, hugs, utensils, and clothes could transmit the disease as well as casual contact with HIV positive persons. This demands systematic education efforts with complete, correct, and comprehensive scientific information offered to them in an environment that is acceptable to them and conducive to their learning ability. For out-of-school girls, peer education should be emphasized.

Only about two-thirds of them mentioned that HIV could be prevented and almost one-third thought that HIV could not be prevented and had no idea whether it could be prevented, and this had an important bearing on the social stigma it would create. On further enquiry of how HIV could be prevented, using condom was mentioned by about two-thirds of the young men and women. Single partner, blood checkups, avoiding commercial sexual workers etc., were other correct explanations offered.

Only half of them thought that HIV persons could be apparently healthy and the remaining either did not know or thought that they could not look normal if they were HIV positive. This again had a bearing on the acceptability of HIV positive people in the society and the approach of the society members around HIV positive people.

The fact that biologically women were at a higher risk of developing infection if exposed to an HIV positive partner was known to hardly one-third of the small proportion who had heard about HIV. This has a direct bearing on HIV positive women's acceptance by the relatives and by the society at large. They may blame the woman, whereas the blame lies in their being women rather than their behavior specifically.


   Acknowledgement Top


Department of Preventive and Social Medicine thankfully acknowledge the technical and financial assistance from UNICEF Gujarat.

 
   References Top

1.HIV/AIDS epidemiological Surveillance and Estimation report for the year 2005, NACO; April 2006.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Dean AG, Coulombier D, Brendel KA, Smith DC, Burton AG, Dicker RC, et al . A word processing, Database and Statistical Program for Public Health on IBM-compatible Microcomputers Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Atlanta, Georgia, USA: 2001. Epi Info, Version 6.04_d.  Back to cited text no. 2    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7]


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[Pubmed] | [DOI]



 

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