Students' Awareness, Knowledge, and Behavior Regarding HIV/AIDS
AbstractObjective: 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.
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