HIV/AIDS Perceptions, attitudes and awareness of undergraduate students

07 January 2011

The central question to be examined revolves around the perceptions, attitudes and awareness regarding HIV/AIDS among undergraduate students at the North-West University (Vaal Triangle Campus). Therefore, the objective of this research was to assess these perceptions, attitudes and awareness regarding HIV/AIDS. A convenience sample of undergraduate students was used in a cross-sectional design (N = 290). A semi-standardised questionnaire as well as a biographical questionnaire was administered. The semi-standardised questionnaire was proven to be reliable. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of between 0.65 and 0.71 was obtained. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse the data. Results indicated that students experienced and perceived differences with regards to their biographical variables in terms of their perceptions, attitudes and awareness regarding HIV/AIDS. Differences were also found between students in different study modules and study years. The findings revealed that the majority of the students were quite knowledgeable regarding HIV/AIDS. While some students had detailed knowledge of the disease and its prevention, others (the minority) were either completely ignorant about it or deny its existence. Recommendations were made for future research in the area of HIV/AIDS within the context of tertiary education.