Author(s): Ghosh S, Chhabra R, Springer C, Sharma SK
North India is considered a low knowledge and low prevalence setting according to the recent National AIDS Control Organization survey regarding HIV/AIDS. As more than one third of the population in India is young adults and adolescents, reaching and educating them is key for prevention programs and a healthier future. School systems provide an ideal situation to impart this awareness and reach adolescents and young adults. Logically, teachers are the ideal sources of imparting information. All schools are required to train some of their teachers in the national HIV/AIDS education training, and they in turn share this information and awareness with the adolescents in schools. However, not many teachers have the knowledge, appropriate attitude, and comfort level needed to impart this information to students. This paper will discuss results from our brief survey of teachers from public and the private schools in Himachal Pradesh in India that focused on the knowledge of HIV/AIDS, attitude toward people living with HIV/AIDS, and comfort in discussing these issues with students. A sample of 80 teachers (40 each from public and private schools) volunteered for the study. The findings revealed a significant difference between public and private school teachers in their knowledge level (t = 9.45, P < .001), their attitudes toward HIV/ AIDS (t = 16.77, P < .001), and their comfort level in discussing these issues (t = 12.65, P < .001). Implications of the study for teacher's training on HIV/AIDS and a proposed intervention are discussed.