Author(s): Sudha RT, Vijay DT, Lakshmi V
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Abstract CONTEXT: Information is the first step in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention. Ignorance about the disease and how the virus is transmitted can generate fear and prejudice towards those who are infected. AIM: To assess the awareness, attitudes, and beliefs of the general public toward HIV/AIDS in Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh. SETTING AND DESIGN: A cross-sectional study conducted for a period of 2 months in 2004 on 800 individuals living in Hyderabad. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A survey was conducted with a questionnaire titled 'General Population Behavioral Surveillance Survey.' The survey used a 5-part, 65-item questionnaire eliciting information about the knowledge of HIV (10 items), modes of transmission (20 items), ways of prevention (10 items), society's attitude toward HIV (15 items), and finally evaluation of Government's measures (10 items). RESULTS: Approximately 80.63\% (645/800) of the study population were sketchily aware of HIV/AIDS, but had incorrect perceptions about the mode of transmission or prevention. Despite the vigorous outreach programmes, which the government and other organizations had carried out in the city, many people had several misconceptions about HIV or about people living with HIV/AIDS. CONCLUSION: As it was observed that awareness was more among the literates, the Government and Health educators should provide tailor-made education programmes for those at the lower education levels.
This article was published in Indian J Med Sci
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research