Abstract : AIDS is a complex of illnesses caused by HIV. AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
According to recent reports by NACO, as many as 21.40 lac people are living with HIV (PLHIV) in India.
Prevention of new HIV infections continues to be the mainstay of India’s national AIDS response. The
lack of awareness and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS in the general population is mostly responsible
for rapid spread of the disease and also with the social stigma attached with PLHIV in our country. Hence
the present study was conducted to assess awareness regarding HIV/AIDS in newly admitted (First Year)
Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study done on 122 First Year MBBS students of Shri
Bhausaheb Hire Govt. Medical College, Maharashtra. Data was collected by pretested questionnaires and
analyzed using percentage.
Results: All students (100%) mentioned unsafe sex and infected blood transfusion as a risk behavior. Most
of the respondents believed HIV infection can be transmitted from: HIV infected pregnant woman to her
baby (93%), breast feeding (62%), contaminated syringes, needles and razors (98%), tattooing (64%) and
IV drug abuse (66%). Students were aware that it does not spread through wearing clothes of HIV-infected
persons (92%), mosquito bite (77%), hugging and shaking hands with an infected person (97%), sharing
common toilets (81%), sharing common utensils like plates, cups and spoons (84%), saliva (81%), contact
with urine (48%) and feces (51%), coughing and sneezing (75%) and sharing a meal (93%). Awareness
regarding prevention of HIV/AIDS was also found to be high with percentage of students responding for
oral contraceptive pills (84%), IUCD (61%), condoms(98%), health education(99%), avoiding untested
blood transfusion(100% boys and 95% girls), use of disposable syringe (85%), avoiding breastfeeding
(44%) and use of latex gloves (41%). 82% of respondents are willing to assist with the delivery of a
baby born to a mother with HIV/AIDS. All students believed that a separate educational programme for
awareness and sensitization towards HIV/AIDS for people engaged in healthcare is needed.
Conclusion: The present study shows that the medical students have somewhat better awareness and
knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS than the general population. Still, there is a need for specific educational
modules for imparting positive attitudes in medical students and healthcare providers in relation to people
living with HIV/AIDS.
Keywords: Awareness, Knowledge, HIV/AIDS.