oa Interim : Interdisciplinary Journal - The impact of HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns on students who enrolled from 2009-2011 at Central University of Technology, Free State
Central University of Technology (CUT) holds awareness campaigns on yearly basis to educate and test students on health related issues. Basic knowledge about the spread of HIV and safe sexual practices has a critical impact on prevention of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and other associated diseases such as TB. The problem among students at higher education institutions (HEIs) is that they are a high risk group of contracting HIV infection due to uninformed decisions that they end up making. This study aimed to assess the knowledge and attitudes of CUT students towards HIV, sexual transmitted infections (STIs) and sexuality. A cross sectional survey of 120 randomly selected undergraduate students (73 females, 47 males, aged 18-25 years) was performed. Questionnaires were used to assess the knowledge and attitude of the students towards HIV and AIDS. Generated knowledge and attitude scores from the student responses and gender variable were used to study their association. Students had heard about HIV, and 93% understood that HIV is not curable. Ninety percent of the students were aware of the symptoms of STIs, and some didn't know that STIs are associated with an increased chances of having HIV. Participants were well informed about selected aspects of HIV. A high number of participants were conversant with the modes of spread of HIV and the use of condoms in preventing STIs and HIV infection. The gap of knowledge between males and females, and the way they attend to the testing facility suggests the need for targeting males in the national awareness campaigns. The Medical Center should continue to host and fund health awareness campaigns because they play a major role as source of information.
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