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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Knowledge and attitude towards HIV/AIDS among Iranian students

Anahita Tavoosi*, Azadeh Zaferani, Anahita Enzevaei, Parvin Tajik and Zahra Ahmadinezhad

Author Affiliations

Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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BMC Public Health 2004, 4:17  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-4-17

Published: 24 May 2004

Abstract

Background

Young people are of particular importance in state policies against Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). We intended to assess the knowledge and attitude of high school students regarding AIDS in Iran.

Methods

Through a cluster-sampling, 4641 students from 52 high schools in Tehran were assessed by anonymous questionnaires in February 2002.

Results

The students identified television as their most important source of information about AIDS. Only a few students answered all the knowledge questions correctly, and there were many misconceptions about the routes of transmission. Mosquito bites (33%), public swimming pools (21%), and public toilets (20%) were incorrectly identified as routes of transmission. 46% believed that Human Immunodeficiency Virus positive (HIV positive) students should not attend ordinary schools. Most of the students wanted to know more about AIDS. In this study knowledge level was associated with students' attitudes and discipline (p < 0.001).

Conclusion

Although the knowledge level seems to be moderately high, misconceptions about the routes of transmission were common. There was a substantial intolerant attitude towards AIDS and HIV positive patients. We recommend that strategies for AIDS risk reduction in adolescents be developed in Iranian high schools.

Keywords:
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome; HIV; Knowledge; Attitude; Schools; Students; Adolescent; Iran