Background Despite a significant reduction in the prevalence of HIV in India in the recent past, India’s HIV epidemic contributes significantly to the global epidemic. The homeless women are highly vulnerable to risky sexual behavior and its negative health consequences due to adverse conditions of street life. This study attempted to understand the familiarity of term HIV/AIDS, correct knowledge about the modes of transmissions, and ways of prevention.
Methods The study used the data that was collected from 300 homeless women both from those living in night shelter and those are living outside in Delhi in 2015. A structured questionnaire was used to collect various information related to knowledge and attitude towards HIV/AIDS. Correct knowledge was assessed using 8 items, while the attitude towards HIV/AIDS assessed using 6 preventing measure related questions. The score of knowledge index varies from 0 to 8 and categorized as not heard about HIV/AIDS (0), low (1–4), average (5–6) and high (7–8). Similarly, the score of attitude index varies from 0 to 6 and categorized as not heard about HIV/AIDS (0), negative attitude (1–3) and positive attitude (4–6).
Results Majority of the homeless women (64%) are not familiar with the term HIV/AIDS. Of 300 homeless women, 5.3% had high knowledge, while 18% had average and 12.7% had low. Majority of the respondents were not able to report the correct answers on specific questions on HIV/AIDS transmission. Similarly, only 7% had a positive attitude and 29% had a negative attitude towards HIV/AIDS.
Conclusion Though there are already many organizations, Government and donors are working with the homeless women for better development and quality life in Delhi, it is equally important to address the critical issues like knowledge about risky sexual behaviour and the attitude towards prevention of HIV/AIDS as many of the homeless women often indulge in risky sexual behaviour.
Disclosure No significant relationships.
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