n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - HIV prevalence, knowledge, attitude, perception and behaviour among students at Walter Sisulu University, South Africa

Volume 20, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


This cross-sectional, unlinked anonymous HIV survey among WSU students was a follow-up to a national study conducted in 2009 by the Higher Education HIV and AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) amongst Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), in which 13.3% students of Walter Sisulu University were HIV positive. This study was conducted to determine whether there has been a change in the knowledge, attitudes, perceptions and beliefs of WSU students after some interventions were introduced. The study involved 456 students (2.2% of the student population), 131 males and 322 females aged 17-39 years. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire, after which a blood sample was drawn from each participant who agreed to the HIV test by qualified WSU clinic nurses. The male participants reported having debuted into sexual activeness much earlier in their lives. Condom use was highest among the participants below the age of 25 years. Regarding multiple and concurrent partnerships (MCP), 33.6% of males versus 10.9% of females who practised MCP reported having more than one sexual partner in the past month. Most of the participants had a partner younger than 10 years of age (64.8%). Less than half of the participants admitted to drinking alcohol (43.6%) while 3.1% reported using drugs. More than 70% of the participants knew about the Centre for HIV and AIDS and the campus clinics and that, they provide HIV and AIDS-related activities and programmes. Although majority of the participants knew of these centres, only 49.8% attended HIV and AIDS functions held on campus. HIV testing results showed a 4.3% positivity rate, with all of the participants who tested HIV positive being females. The prevalence of HIV infection among WSU students is very low and their overall knowledge about HIV/AIDS prevention, transmission and treatment is encouraging. The students do not consistently use condom for sex, especially when they perceived the relationship to be steady and long. Also, the finding indicates the practice of homosexuality among the students. There is need to incorporate HIV/AIDS in the curriculum of the university in order to create better awareness of higher-risk practices among the students. Findings from this study provide a 'more intensify approach-call' for WSU concerning HIV/AIDS interventions in the community.

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