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Community-based cross sectional study done to assess the awareness and attitude of rural young men and women toward HIV/AIDS.The study population included 850 young men and women in the age group of 18-30 years, belonging to Kuppam Mandal,Andhra Pradesh, using a two stage sampling design. Data collection was done using a semi structured pretested questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted a total of 60 questions, 40 regarding awareness about the cause and modes of transmission of HIV / AIDS, & 20 to assess the attitude toward people living with HIV / AIDS (PLHA). Statistical package SPSS version 11.5 was used, chi-square test was conducted & P<0.05 was considered statistically significant. In all, 18% of the women and 7% of men had not heard of AIDS at all. The findings showed that the rural women’s knowledge was poor when compared to men (P<0.05). Level of literacy of men & women was significantly associated with their knowledge of HIV/AIDS (P<0.05), showing that literates had better knowledge than illiterates. There were several misconceptions and false beliefs about cause & spread of the infection which were found to be more prevalent among illiterates. Only about 12% of the respondents were willing to undergo the HIV test. The respondents with less than secondary school education had a discriminatory attitude toward HIV positive people, which was found statistically significant. Only 46% of the youth responded that it could be prevented and 20% knew that HIV could be present in apparently healthy looking persons. This study suggests a need for innovative, comprehensive scientific information particularly targeting the rural youth in order to impart better knowledge and understanding on HIV/AIDS.
HIV/ AIDS, awareness, rural youth, attitude