Background Good knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS including safe-sex practises are important for adolescents’ sexual health. The AIDS Institute at Khon Kaen University (KKU), promotes knowledge of HIV/AIDS and research into different strategies to reduce HIV/AIDS risk.
Method This study was conducted with first-year health-science KKU students. Sexual health behaviour, general knowledge about HIV and sexual transmitted diseases, HIV prevention beliefs, self-confidence and accessibility to care and counselling were explored using a self-report questionnaire, approved by KKU Ethics Committee.
Results Questionnaires were returned by 683 health-science students; 69.4% were female, mean age was 18.8 years. More than 90% of them declared that they have not had sexual experience. Many (74%) had not talked about HIV with friends. Seven of ten survey questions about HIV knowledge were answered correctly in more than 84% of students. These questions included knowledge about at-risk populations, possibility of transmission without HIV symptoms, progression to death from opportunistic infection, transmission by eating together, timing for HIV testing, source of HIV in blood and body fluid and aggravated transmission by other sexual transmitted diseases. However, some still believed that HIV people should not have a sex life (33.7%), or, did not know that coitus interruptus is unsafe for protecting from HIV infection (33.2%). Regarding sexual practises, most were confident that they would not have sex without a condom (77.1%), or, would be able to bargain not to have sex if they didn’t want to (82.5%), or, had access to condoms when needed (86.8%).
Conclusion Students have good general knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Most report confidence about only engaging in safe-sex behaviours, and having the communication skills to bargain with a partner to achieve this. However, behaviour in real life situations can be very different. This is difficult to research by self-report methods and would require other research tools.
- health-science KKU students
- self-report questionnaire