Author(s): Inungu J, Mumford V, Younis M, Langford S
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Students enrolled at a Midwestern university in the United States were surveyed between February and April 2008 about their HIV knowledge, sources of information, attitude toward people living with HIV/AIDS, and their sexual behaviors. METHODS: An anonymous questionnaire was sent to 1,000 students via Survey Monkey. RESULTS: Of the 650 respondents (65\%) who provided complete information, 91.2\% were white, 70.6\% were female, 76.3\% were seniors at the university and 94.7\% were heterosexuals. Their average age was 22.5 years (SD +/- 4) with a range of 18 to 30 years. Although the majority of students (77.3\%) reported to be very familiar with HIV/AIDS including its mode of transmission, important misconceptions still exist regarding HIV/AIDS. Several students either thought that mosquitoes transmit HIV/AIDS (14.2\%) or did not know one way or the other (19.9\%). About 43.1\% were unsure about the existence of drugs that can prevent maternal to child transmission of HIV and 12\% actually believed that these drugs do not exist. Moreover, despite the high prevalence of risky sexual behaviors among students, the majority of participants (86.8\%) did not perceive themselves to be at risk for contracting HIV. As a result only 29.4\% had ever been tested for HIV. CONCLUSION: Coexistence among college students of both misconceptions about the mode of HIV/AIDS transmission and denial about their vulnerability to contract this disease underscores the need for a proactive approach to address these challenges facing our youths.
This article was published in J Health Hum Serv Adm
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research