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Knowledge, attitude, and practices regarding human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome among higher secondary school teachers in Goa

Jagadish A Cacodcar, Abhishek Bicholkar, Ira Sahakari, Rama Sansgiri, Pratiksha Rane, Ravina Sangodkar, Akshaya Sawant, Shruti Sawant.

Background: The vulnerability of young people to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a major public health issue in India. While many factors contribute to this increased vulnerability, lack of knowledge is one of the leading issues. It is of utmost importance that the teachers involved in educating the students are adequately trained to clear any misconceptions that may be prevalent among them.

Objectives: The objective of the study was to assess the knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS and attitude toward people living with HIV (PLHIV)/AIDS among higher secondary school teachers in Goa.

Materials and Methods: A total of 165 teachers teaching various streams of Class XI and Class XII were interviewed using a self-administered, semi-structured questionnaire to obtain details regarding personal characteristics and their knowledge, attitude, and practices regarding HIV/AIDS.

Results: Of the 165 teachers, 78 (47.3%) were male and 87 (52.7%) were female. As much as 45 (22.3%) of the teachers felt that HIV and AIDS are the same. About 158 (95.8%) said that HIV/AIDS does not spread by casual contact and by living or working together with a person with HIV. However, 24 (14.5%) teachers believed that HIV/AIDS spreads by mosquito/insect bite. On inquiry about the attitude toward PLHIV/AIDS, 127 (77%) of the teachers would not hesitate in sitting next to a person with HIV/AIDS, whereas 54 (32.7%) would not share food with a person with HIV/AIDS.

Conclusions: The level of knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention among higher secondary school teachers is satisfactory. However, some misconceptions about HIV/AIDS transmission as well as discriminatory attitudes were observed among these teachers that call for concern and must be addressed promptly.

Key words: Human Immunodeficiency Virus; Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome; Knowledge; Attitudes and Practices; Teachers

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