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HIV / AIDS knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of student nurses

Background: HIV and AIDS is a matter of concern because the number of cases has increased dramatically over the last ten years. Nursing students need to have appropriate knowledge and attitudes about HIV and AIDS because they are the future health care professionals, therefore will play a key role in prevention of spread and care of people with AIDS. The aim of the study was to explore the knowledge, behaviours and attitudes about HIV/AIDS of nursing students in Greece. Method and Material: A cross-sectional study was carried out in a nursing school of a Technological Educational Institute in Greece. A sample of 279 (N=279) nursing students agreed to participate in the study, giving a response rate of 77.5%. Data were collected using an anonymous questionnaire comprising four self-administered instruments: (a) the International AIDS questionnaire-Chinese Version (IAQ-C), (b) the source of HIV/AIDS information questionnaire, (c) Sexual behaviours/practices and attitudinal questions about AIDS and (d) demographic questions. Return of a completed questionnaire was considered as consent to participate in the study. Descriptive and inferential statistics were employed for the data analysis using SPSS version17. The significant level of p value was determined at p< 0.05 Results: Overall student nurses had fairly good knowledge about HIV and AIDS as well as a positive attitudes towards AIDS people (M=70.39;SD=18.43; possible range 18-90). A few items however presented contradictory results from the overall score of the knowledge scale. Of the respondents 39.8% believed that mosquitoes can transmit HIV and 38% believed the virus could be transmitted via the toilet seat. 56.2% reported that vaccination can protect them from AIDS. The majority of respondents (76.7%) hadn?t been taught about HIV/AIDS. Participants reporting a willingness to care for people with AIDS were significantly more knowledgeable and held more positive attitudes towards people with AIDS (P=0.001). The primary sources of information for the participants were television (80.7%), newspapers/magazines (64.6%) and internet (60%). 94.3% of the respondents stated that they were heterosexual and sexually active. Religious students were found to be less knowledgeable and held less positive attitudes towards people with AIDS when compared to students with no religious conviction (F=2.61; P=0.03). Conclusions: Student nurses? knowledge presented contradictory results which indicated that whilst overall scores confirmed the participants possessed fairly good knowledge, individual knowledge items demonstrated that they lacked some knowledge on the subject. Nursing curriculum programmes of nursing schools need to be restructured to ensure that students gain the necessary accurate knowledge and appropriate attitudes about HIV and AIDS.

Author(s): Christina Ouzouni, Konstantinos Nakakis

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