The Current Level of HIV/AIDS Knowledge and Sexual Behaviors of Students in Southern China: A Cross-Sectional Study

  •  Yiting Li    
  •  Lishan Li    
  •  Liqiu Chen    
  •  Tao Ding    
  •  Huaying Ao    


BACKGROUND: The spread of HIV/AIDS in China is predominantly driven by sexual transmission and it is a fact that HIV transmission among students is quite common, e.g., 480 000 adolescents were infected from 2000 to 2018. Our study aimed to investigate knowledge of HIV/AIDS and sexual behaviors of young students in Southern China.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted based on questionnaire. The information collected included socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge of HIV and risky sexual behaviors.

RESULTS: 9027 students were invited and 8349 were eventually enrolled in the study. The following factors were found to be associated with lower level of HIV/AIDS knowledge: female (OR: 0.757, 95% CI 0.689–0.831), residence in rural areas (OR: 0.786, 95% CI: 0.713–0.866), studying in high school (OR = 0.598, CI =0.459–0.779) and secondary vocational school (OR =0.713, CI =0.545–0.933), major in pharmacy (OR = 0.453, CI = 0.331–0.621), medicine (OR = 0.592, CI = 0.402–0.872) and others (OR = 0.671, CI = 0.518–0.871), and little participation in programs for the prevention of AIDS (OR = 0.646, CI = 0.585–0.714). Kendall correlation test showed that students who had risky sexual behaviors all had lower level of HIV/AIDS Knowledge (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Students who have more knowledge of HIV/AIDS were generally less likely to have risky sexual behaviors. Female students and those who reside in rural areas had lower level of HIV/AIDS knowledge, indicating that we may need to pay more attention to deliver education for these cohorts. It is suggested to follow the strategies used by some developed countries to improve students’ knowledge for HIV/AIDS and prevent its transmission.

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