n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Attitudes towards the risk of HIV transmission in sport : original research article

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-5163
  • E-ISSN: 2078-516X



<I>Objective.</I> There is a real risk of transmitting HIV through open wounds during participation in sport. The aim of this study was to investigate athlete s knowledge and attitudes towards HIV transmission in a competitive sport environment how their sporting codes, demographics, knowledge and interaction with colleagues influenced their attitudes. <br><I>Design.</I> A questionnaire was administered to elite athletes (N = 575) competing in 11 sport codes including high, medium and low-risk sports, and undergraduate students (N = 46) from a Sport Science Department. Athletes from all economic backgrounds, who competed at national, provincial or at first-division level, were included in this study. The questionnaire was distributed during national tournaments and training sessions. <br><I>Results.</I> Sixty-three per cent of athletes believed that a risk of HIV transmission exists in sport participation. Fiftyeight per cent believed that they had a right to know if a teammate/opponent was HIV-positive, and 62% believed that all athletes should be tested for HIV. Fifty per cent of the respondents indicated that they would participate against individuals who were HIV-positive. Most athletes (88%) believed that more education on HIV transmission in sport was needed and 58% felt that HIV should be a notifiable disease in sport. Forty-six per cent of the athletes indicated that they would participate in competition even though they were HIV-positive. <br><I>Conclusion.</I> The threat of infection or transmission did not deter athletes who were afflicted or unafflicted with HIV from participating in competitive sports.

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