Introduction HIV and AIDS represent one of the greatest concerns in global health in the last three decades. In Brazil, the percentage of people living with HIV and dying with AIDS increases every year. The number of cases in the south of Brazil is bigger than in the rest of the country, particularly in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina as the second and third states with the largest numbers. Medical students from the International Federation of Medical Students Association of Brazil (IFMSA Brazil) in the south of the country conducted this study to better comprehension of Brazilian citizens’ understanding about the subject.
Methods This study investigated the profile of general population in three Brazilian cities (Curitiba, Londrina and Tubarão), identifying the sociodemographic aspects and knowledge level related to HIV and AIDS, in a descriptive and quantitative analysis. Data was collected through a questionnaire with nine questions, in November 2016.
Results 343 individuals, 57% female and the majority of them between 21 and 30 years old. The answers showed an alarming situation in the south region of Brazil. Almost half of them (49.6%) did not know about their serology for HIV, meanwhile 60.6% revealed already being worried about that. Regarding HIV and AIDS definition, 71.7% did not know the difference between the virus and the syndrome. When asked about a method of prevention for HIV and other STIs, more than 90% knew how to prevent themselves and most of them mentioned condoms as the method used. Only 41.4% reported using condoms regularly. When asked about social interaction with people living with HIV, 74.6% would not have sexual relations and 16.9% would not be friends with someone living with the virus.
Conclusion One of the reasons for the massive numbers of HIV cases in the south of Brazil is the lack of knowledge of the population. Knowing the social determinants and population profile allows integrative practices, as the development of new action strategies to improve health promotion and health education regarding HIV and AIDS.