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The effectiveness of an awareness programme in increasing knowledge of and influencing attitudes towards human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
Introduction: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are among the most complex health problems in the world. Young people are at high risk of HIV infection and, therefore, are in need of targeted prevention. Aims and objectives: The aims of the study were to assess knowledge of and attitudes to HIV/AIDS among high-school adolescents in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), United Arab Emirates (UAE), and to assess the effectiveness of an awareness programme on knowledge of and attitudes to HIV/AIDS among high-school adolescents in RAK, UAE. Materials and methods: The study, which followed a pretest–post-test, one-group design, with the intervention being a single session awareness programme on HIV/AIDS, was carried out among 133 students in two high schools in RAK, UAE. Data analysis was carried out using IBM SPSS version 20 (IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY, USA). Results: The pretest results showed that 89.5% had an average level of knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS, 9.8% had a poor level and 0.8% had a good level; post test 29.3% had a good level of knowledge of HIV/AIDS and 70.7% had an average level of knowledge. A paired t-test showed a pretest knowledge mean of 8.27 [standard deviation (SD) 2.273] and post-test mean of 12.35 (SD 2.082, P=0.000). The majority of students (88%) had an unfavourable attitude towards HIV/AIDS pretest but, post test, 98.5% of students were found to have a favourable attitude. The difference between the pretest attitude mean (37.72, SD 5.929) and post-test mean (44.14, SD 5.640) was significant (P=0.000), illustrating the effectiveness of the awareness programme on knowledge of and attitudes to HIV/AIDS. Conclusion: This study suggests that awareness programmes of HIV/AIDS are effective and beneficial to high-school students in improving their knowledge of HIV/AIDS and in cultivating a favourable attitude towards the disorders. Acknowledgements: We thank our supervisor, Dr Priyalatha, for her support and guidance and we also thank the schools and students who participated in our research.