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Gender differences in knowledge, attitudes and prevention of HIV/AIDS/STI among youth in West Bengal, India

Dr. Mallika Mitra Biswas, PhD1, Dr. Sona Sethi, MBBS1, Laboni Jana2, and Kakali Bhattacharya2. (1) Planned Parenthood Federation of America-International, C-120, Sector E, Aliganj, Lucknow, India, 91-522-2327258, mallikamitra.biswas@ppfa.org, (2) Adolescent Resource Center, Child In Need Institute, 23/44 Golpark, Gariahat Road, Kolkata, India

A population-based cross-sectional survey was carried out in 2003 among 2,533 rural young people (15-24 years) in West Bengal to understand young people’s sexual and reproductive health knowledge, attitudes and risk behavior. Results revealed that even though more than 75% of the respondents of all categories – married and unmarried male and female – had heard of HIV/AIDS, there were gender differences in awareness and practices, 34% of male respondents and only 15% female youth could correctly identify three routes of HIV transmission. Though 40% of male and 25% of female youth respondents mentioned condom usage as a safe sex method, only 23% of male and 22% of female youth identified condom usage as a method to prevent HIV/AIDS/STI. Males are significantly more likely to believe that condoms are most suitable for casual relationships compared to females and this is highest among married males. Awareness about sexually transmitted infections is very poor among all categories of respondents with less than 10% correctly identifying any one sign of STI. Among sexually active young males, only 20% reported use of condoms at first sex. Only 30% of the unmarried males felt confident that they could use condoms at each sex and this is even lower among unmarried girls (9%).

Learning Objectives:

  • At the end of this session, participants will be able to

    Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, Gender

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    From Prevention to Care: HIV/AIDS Issues in High Prevalence Countries

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA