Online Program

Objective and subjective HIV/AIDS knowledge among disadvantaged youths in South Africa

Monday, November 2, 2015

Su-I. Hou, DrPH, CPH, MCHES, RN, Health Management & Informatics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
Gwynn Powell, PhD, Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Purpose: This study assessed objective and subjective HIV/AIDS knowledge among youths in South Africa.  Methods: Disadvantaged youths from an HIV prevention camp program were recruited.  An 11-item knowledge test was developed and used to assess objective knowledge on HIV/AIDS.  Two 5-point likert items were use to assess perceived (subjective) knowledge levels for HIV/AIDS in general and for HIV testing specifically.  Results: A total of 449 youths from 9 provinces participated, with an average age of 15.19 years and 37.5% personally knew someone with HIV/AIDS.  Overall the campers showed improved knowledge scores, from 5.52 to 6.33 after the camp (p<.001).  Knowledge items which below 50% of the campers answered correctly at baseline were mostly about how HIV/AIDS could or couldn’t be transmitted, such as mosquito bites (49%), coughing (43%), washing private parts after sex (37.7%); and the vulnerability of women than men (21.0%), latent period of AIDS (33.5%), or window period of HIV testing (40.0%).  Data showed campers perceived increased subjective knowledge towards HIV/AIDS in general (3.54 vs. 3.20; p<.001) and HIV testing specifically (3.34 vs. 2.95; p<.001).  However, only subjective knowledge of HIV testing showed significantly related to prior HIV testing behavior (3.23 vs. 2.84; p<.01).  Conclusion: Although both objective and subjective knowledge were increased, the overall knowledge scores were still below satisfactory.  Data show an urgent need of continuing education among vulnerable youths in South Africa.  This study provides a tested and rapid tool to assess objective and subjective HIV/AIDS knowledge and identifies areas needing prevention efforts.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe sample scale items measuring HIV/AIDS related knowledge. Distinguish between objective versus subjective knowledge and why it is important to measure both. Discuss implications of the study findings on HIV/AIDS prevention efforts targeting disadvantaged youths in South Africa.

Keyword(s): HIV/AIDS, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I'm the co-PI and evaluation consultant of this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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