Background Post secondary school, young people may continue to study or will seek work opportunities. They are exposed to a different environment which may influence their knowledge and attitude towards HIV/AIDS. The aim of this paper is to compare the knowledge and attitude of post-secondary school urban youths towards HIV/AIDS.
Methods This was a cross-sectional survey using self administered questionnaire of young urban Malaysians age 18–24 years who were either enrolled in randomly selected private or public colleges and universities, or formally employed in private or public workplaces in the Klang Valley.
Results Compared to the 973 students, the 615 workers who participated in this study were significantly older (22.6 + 1.5 years versus 20.4 + 1.7 years), 12.2% versus 0.8% were married, and 88.5% versus 80.1% were Muslims. Both groups had fairly good knowledge of HIV/AIDS and its prevention and did not show significant difference in their mean knowledge of HIV/AIDS. However, misconception on transmission of the disease persist when 35–40% thought sitting on toilet seats and 50% thought HIV can be transmitted through mosquito bites; and 47.5% of workers and 51.3% of students had negative attitudes towards HIV and people with HIV/AIDS. Only 48.1% of workers and 41.7% of students were sure that condom is an effective way of protecting against HIV/AIDS while both, about 20%, reported peers, and 18.0% students and 9.8% workers reported teachers/school counsellors as important sources of information on HIV/AIDS.
Conclusion Knowledge and attitude of the two groups of youths did not show significant differences although working youths seems to be slightly more open about HIV/AIDS and the use of condom for prevention of STDs. Workplace or college-based health promotion for prevention of HIV/STDs should be developed and maintained since misconception remains and negative attitude is still prevalent in these post-secondary school youths.
- Knowledge and Attitude