Open Access Research article

Knowledge of HIV and factors associated with attitudes towards HIV among final-year medical students at Hanoi medical university in Vietnam

Michael Platten1, Ha N Pham12 and Huy V Nguyen3*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

2 World Health Organization, Hanoi, Vietnam

3 Department of Health Management and Organization, Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:265  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-265

Published: 20 March 2014



The success of HIV care strongly depends upon skills of the healthcare worker. Vietnam has a punitive history towards HIV and even though this has changed recently, persons living with HIV are still facing discrimination. The objective of this paper is to assess the gaps in knowledge of HIV and factors associated with discriminatory attitudes towards persons living with HIV among medical students in order to improve medical training.


In a cross-sectional quantitative study using a structured questionnaire, 200 final-year medical students at Hanoi Medical University were approached for data collection in May of 2012. Descriptive statistics (percentages) were used to present four HIV knowledge tests. Linear regression models were examined to highlight factors that are associated with general attitudes towards HIV and attitudes towards HIV in a clinical setting.


Although students performed overall well in the knowledge category of HIV discrimination and stigma, there were several gaps in knowledge of HIV, including the categories of HIV-related basic sciences, prevention, and care and treatment. Knowledge of stigma and discrimination was a significant positive predictor of General non-prejudicial attitude to HIV and AIDS (β = 0.186, P < 0.01) and Non-discriminatory attitude to HIV and AIDS at work (β = 0.188, P < 0.01). Training on methadone treatment was found to be a significant positive predictor (β = 0.168, P < 0.05) while family size was negatively associated (β = -0.170, P < 0.05) with General non-prejudicial attitude to HIV and AIDS.


The study suggests a need for incorporating HIV training into the core curricula for medical students. As persons who inject drugs carry a proportionately high burden of HIV in Vietnam, it is also important to include methadone training for students.

HIV; Vietnam; Medical students; Knowledge; Attitude