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Jahanfar S, Lye MS, Rampal L
Correspondence: Dr Shayesteh Jahanfar, email@example.com
Introduction The aim of this study was to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and behaviour of university students regarding acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Methods A randomised controlled trial of 530 university students was done using peer-adult facilitators. Participants completed a questionnaire before and after the intervention, which was a four-hour group session. A prevention programme was developed by local experts, health educators and peer facilitators. The peer-adult-led programme was designed to provide a conceptual model of HIV risk reduction through information, motivational and behavioural skills, a harm reduction module and health promotion theme.
Results The main outcome measured was the level of knowledge, attitudes and behaviour scores. The results suggest that relative to the control group, participants in the intervention group had higher levels of knowledge (30.37 vs. 25.40; p-value is 0.001) and a better attitude (12.27 vs. 10.84; p-value is 0.001). However, there was no difference in the behavioural score (9.47 vs. 9.41; p-value is 0.530). The correlation between the level of knowledge and age and the level of education was found in the intervention group, but not in the control group (p-value is 0.01). Attitude and gender were found to be correlated in the intervention group only (p-value is 0.01).
Conclusion Our programme was successful in increasing knowledge and improving attitudes towards AIDS and HIV. However, it did not improve risk-taking behaviour. Peer-adult-led educational programmes for youth using various interactional activities, such as small group discussions, poster activity and empathy exercises, can be successful in changing the prevailing youth perceptions of AIDS and HIV.
Keywords: acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, health education, human immunodeficiency virus, sexually-transmitted disease
Singapore Med J 2009; 50(2): 173-180