Appropriate HIV and AIDS Interventions drawn from Baseline Knowledge Attitude and Behaviour Surveys of University Students
Aim and Objectives: To sequentially assess the levels of Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of HIV and AIDS among students at the University of Zambia and the extent to which this information can be used in HIV programming on Campus to plan for appropriate interventions.
Design: A cross-sectional exploratory survey design was used. The 2005 survey involved only first year students at the University of Zambia, while the 2006 followup survey was conducted among students from all schools on main campus, with the exception of the School of Medicine on a separate campus. All participants signed informed consent.
Main outcomes: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices regarding HIV and AIDS among University of Zambia students.
Measures: Data was collected using validated selfadministered standardized semi-structured questionnaire on knowledge, attitude and practices regarding HIV/AIDS.
Results: Among the 844 first year students who took part in the 2005 baseline 642 (76.1%) felt that they had heard enough about HIV and AIDS pandemic while in the 2006 follow-up survey, 581 (76.1%) respondents said they knew enough about the pandemic. Only 3 (0.4%) students reported never having heard about HIV and AIDS. Of the respondents from the 2005 and 2006 survey 38 percent and 29 percent felt that were not at risk of contracting HIV. Yet, 26.1 percent and 54 percent of respondents in the 2005 and 2006 baseline surveys respectively reported having experienced vaginal sex. Of these, only 38 percent and 50 percent respectively had used a condom during their last sexual encounter. Many do not practice safe sex, as almost one in ten students never uses condoms, while 26 percent occasionally use them.
Conclusions: HIV knowledge does not seem to have effected behavioural change in students, as they continue to engage in unsafe practices. HIV programmes have an effect on knowledge, but may not necessarily change attitudes and practice of risky behaviour. More work is therefore needed in this area. An HIV and AIDS programme with strategies that promote positive attitudes and behavioural changes towards safer sex is needed.