RESEARCH ARTICLE


Knowledge of Students regarding HIV/AIDS at a Rural University in South Africa



Tinotenda S. Murwira1, *, Lunic B. Khoza2, Jabu T. Mabunda1, Sonto M. Maputle2, Mamotena Mpeta3, Wilfred N. Nunu1
1 Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, P Bag X5050, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa
2 Department of Advanced Nursing, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, P Bag X5050, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa
3 Department of Professional Studies, School of Education, University of Venda, P. Bag X5050, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa


© 2021 Murwira et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, P Bag X5050, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa; E-mail: murwiratinotenda@gmail.com


Abstract

Introduction:

Knowledge about HIV/AIDS is essential for facilitating safer sexual behaviour hence, it is important in controlling HIV. Therefore, in the absence of a cure for the pandemic, adequate knowledge about the virus remains the backbone of prevention efforts.

Objective:

To assess the knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS among undergraduate students at a rural university in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Methods:

A cross-sectional descriptive quantitative survey-based study was conducted at a rural-based university in South Africa. Stratified random sampling was used to select 345 students. A self-administered questionnaire composed of 26 questions was utilised to gather data and the data were analysed using SPSS version 26. Multiple logistic regression and chi-square tests [χ2] were employed to determine the association between HIV/AIDS knowledge and demographic variables.

Results:

The overall HIV/AIDS knowledge score of students shows that (74)21% had a poor level of knowledge, (126)37% had average knowledge, and (145)42% had adequate knowledge. There was no significant difference between male and female students regarding their knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Factors, such as age, level of study, the field of study, and religion, were not significantly associated with HIV/AIDS knowledge. However, the race was significantly associated with knowledge with coloureds and mixed races, almost six times less knowledgeable than blacks.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, students had inadequate knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Misconceptions about HIV/AIDS facts, transmission routes, and prevention aspects were also prevalent among students. The present study accentuates the need for providing students with more HIV/AIDS education to fill HIV knowledge gaps and misconceptions.

Keywords: Knowledge, HIV/AIDS, Students, University, Infections, Public health.