Background Despite detailed information available regarding HIV infection, a lot of misconceptions and the infection is still regarded as a taboo and the positive person is discriminated. Youth can play an important role in removing this taboo.
Methods The NGO is involved in giving life skills education to school children. This study part of the same involved students of class IX onwards selected from eight schools of South Delhi.
Students were administered anonymous semi structured pre tested pro forma seeking information regarding age, sex, various myths/misconceptions regarding HIV infection and their attitude towards HIV positive person. After a detailed brainstorming interactive session the students were given one hour break and they were asked to visit the hall where IEC material in the form of leaflets and charts was displayed. After the break same pro forma marked ‘B’ was given to be filled.
Results A total of 400 students were given the pro forma and there were 8 refusals, giving a response rate of 98%. Of these 192 males and 200 females responded. Myths/misconceptions regarding transmission were: through blood donation 154 (39.28%), swimming in common pool 225 (57.39%), playing together 278 (70.91%) and shaking hands 202 (51.53%) and after intervention came down respectively to 54 (13.77%), 98 (25.0%), 95 (24.23%) and 89 (22.70%).
Attitude towards a positive person was adjudged by asking fear of eating 276 (70.4%), having friendship 191 (48.7%), allowed to attend school 270 (68.9%) and by taking care 319 (81.4%), and the same changed respectively after intervention to: 116 (29.59%), 331 (84.43%), 352 (89.79%) and 376 (95.91%).
Conclusion Intervention helped to improve upon knowledge and change in attitude but one time intervention is not enough and sustained efforts are required to bring adequate and a positive change in the minds of youth to stop stigma and discrimination.
Conflict of interest None.