University Students in Sudan: Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour and Practice related to HIV/AIDS/STIs, 2004

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Jabir, Anas
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The global AIDS epidemic is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Sudan remains the worst-affected country in the Middle East and North Africa region, with its epidemic concentrated largely in the south. This was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted among university students in ten states of the Sudan in 2004. The study objectives were to assess levels of knowledge about HIV and its preventive measures, to identify level of risk to HIV, to estimate prevalence of STIs and assess STIs care-seeking behaviour, to assess levels of HIV related stigma and to identify the best channels for communication and HIV educational programmes. A sample of 1113 university students was selected in the 10 states, set as priority states by SNAP, using a 2 stage stratified cluster sampling technique. A structured pre-coded questionnaire was used for data collection. Although levels of knowledge about HIV/AIDS among university students were found to be high, there were still gaps in knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Only 329 (29.6%) students identified mother to child transmission of HIV. Knowledge about HIV preventive measure was weak, especially faithfulness 299 (26.9%) and condom use 136 (12.2%). Misconceptions about HIV transmission were still there, with 191 (17.2%) students mentioned mosquito bite as route of HIV transmission and 117(10.5%) mentioned eating with infected person transmit HIV. These gaps in knowledge were sometimes statistically significantly related to gender and age, the gaps being wider among female students and younger age groups. Levels of stigma and discrimination against PLWHA were high among university students i.e. 256 (23%) would not accept eating with HIV infected person, two thirds would not accept buying food from HIV infected person and 531 (47.84%) would have tendency to hide HIV infection of a family member. Almost one third of students, 342 (30.7%), shared blades with others, and 53 (4.8%) students shared needles with others. VIII Only 52 (4.7%) students ever used condoms. Condom use was higher among males and students with other income sources compared to females and those with no other income sources. One half of sexually active university students had more than one sexual partners 62.4% of them never used condom. The estimated prevalence of urethral discharge was 3.1%, vaginal discharge was 8.2% and genital ulcer was 1.3% during the last 12 months among university students. The majority of university students (87.2%) reported having access to both Radio and Television. The most preferred communication channels mentioned by university students were TV (62.3%), public lectures (60.0%), Radio (59.4%) and printed materials (45.2%). The study concluded that there were critical gaps in knowledge about HIV that need to be urgently addressed especially HIV preventive measures, misconceptions about HIV transmission, stigma and discrimination issues. The level of risk to HIV infection among sexually active students was high and use of available services was low including VCT. It was recommended that SNAP and its partners to review its BCC interventions to properly address identified gaps in knowledge about HIV/AIDS, to conduct qualitative research to analyze the low use of condom and VCT services and to pilot peer education interventions among university students for behavioural change supported by mass media.
University Students,Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour,HIV, AIDS, STIs