Students' Awareness, Knowledge, and Behavior Regarding HIV/AIDS

  • Tengiz Verulava Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University; University of Georgia, School of Health Sciences and Public Health
  • Iago Kachkachishvili Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University
  • Salome Abulashvili
  • Mari Chkhaidze
  • Mariam Khuroshvili
  • Liza Kiknadze
  • Revaz Jorbenadze
Keywords: HIV/AIDS, prevention

Abstract

Objective: HIV/AIDS continues to be a major global public health issue. Georgia is a low-level HIV country with an HIV prevalence of less than 1% in all groups, including drug users. However, the HIV epidemic in Georgia is spreading from the traditional high-risk population to some in the general population. The experience in African countries has already indicated that the HIV epidemic grows rapidly, when heterosexual transmission becomes the main mode of HIV transmission. Younger adults continue to be a large risk factor for HIV/AIDS. Thus, concern is growing regarding sexual knowledge, attitude, and behavior among students, who are vulnerable to HIV infection due to deficient sex education. The aim of this study is to assess students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral perceptions regarding HIV/AIDS. Methods: An analytic cross-sectional study was conducted. Participants were 200 students from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. The survey instrument was an online self-administered anonymous questionnaire conducted using Google survey software. Results: The study shows that students have good knowledge regarding the spread of HIV/AIDS and the risk of infection, but they often do not address preventive measures, diagnostic tests. Discussion: The society is less interested in HIV testing. Sex education is not sufficient in Georgia, particularly in schools. Hence, students can’t receive adequate information on HIV/AIDS. At the same time, the low level of awareness among students increases the risk factor, stigma, discrimination, and stereotypes. Research indicate the need to develop additional educational programs with specific interventions to raise awareness about STD preventive measures and promote healthy sexual behaviors in order to prevent new HIV infections among younger adults. It is necessary to increase public awareness on HIV/AIDS prevention and diagnostic measures. The most preferred method of disseminating this information is either from the internet, television, or university educational courses.

Author Biographies

Tengiz Verulava, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University; University of Georgia, School of Health Sciences and Public Health
Head of Health Policy and Insurance Institute Full Time Professor, MD, PhD
Iago Kachkachishvili, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Iv. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University
Iago Kachkachishvili, PhD in Social Sciences, is Full Professor at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences and Head of the Department of Sociology and Social Work at Tbilisi State University, lecturing on modern and postmodern social theories and the methods of social research. He carried out research projects dealing with education, politics, ethnicity, social protection and inclusion, HIV/AIDS, safe sex and the issues of reproductive health, religiousness and others, and has headed more than 50 research and educational projects since 2000. He is actively engaged in the establishment and administrative support of the Social Work Education program at TSU and is Head of the Institute of Social Studies and Analysis; he co-edits an international peer-reviewed journal, Social Policy and Social Work in Transition and has authored six books and more than 40 scientific articles.

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Published
2018-06-19
Section
Original Research