Ways of transmission: In both the city and the village most of the students knew that HIV is sexually transmitted. However some of them thought that you get infected through sexual contact only if you have sex with more than one person or have sex before marriage. Most of the students also knew that the virus is spread through blood, sharing needles and from mother to child during pregnancy. On the question “is HIV spread through breast feeding?” the same proportion of students answered yes and no respectively in both the city and the village. During the interviews we noticed some misconceptions about how HIV is spread, for example some students thought that mosquitoes, unclean environment and water, kisses, eating together, hugging and shaking hands can spread the virus.
Protection against HIV/AIDS: The students were asked if they knew how to protect against HIV. The most common answer was “having only one sexual partner”. In the city many students thought that a sterile hospital could prevent the spread of HIV. In the village only some students gave that answer. Answers that were mentioned by students in the village but not in the city was “no sex before marriage”, “keeping HIV infected people outside the village” and “clean water and environment”. In the city, but not in the village, answers like “not having sex with risk persons”, “not sharing needles for injection”, “not getting pregnant if you are HIV infected”, “medicines” and “education” came up. Four of the students in the village and two in the city said that they had no idea of how to protect against HIV.
All of the male students but only one of the female students in the village knew what a condom was. The corresponding numbers in the city were nine of the males and four of the females. About one fourth of the students in the village and half of the students in the city knew that a condom could be used to protect against HIV. None of the female students had seen a condom. Only few of the students knew how to use a condom. Four female students in the city said that they had heard the word condom but they had no idea of what it is. A male student in the city explained that “a condom is used as a barrier between the penis and the vagina” and a female student in the village said that “a condom lengthens the time until you get children” (Fig. 8, 9).
Medicine against HIV? In the village one fourth of the students thought that there’s a medicine against HIV. Half of those said that the medicine can cure the patient while the others thought that the medicine just lengthens the life. The rest of the students in the village stated that there’s no medicine against HIV. Half of the students in the city thought that there’s a medicine and two of those said that the medicine can cure. The rest of students in the city said that there’s no medicine.
Most of the students in the village answered that you die from HIV but some students stated that you don’t die from it. All of the students in the city, except for one, thought that you die from the infection. One student said that you can survive if a miracle happen.
Special groups more often infected with HIV/AIDS: Six of the students in the village and five in the city answered that truck drivers are more often infected by HIV. Most of them could not explain why, they had only heard rumours that they are at higher risk. Two students in the village told us that truck drivers sometimes visit prostitutes at the highways and there they get infected. The second most common risk group that was mentioned was prostitutes. Other risk groups that came up during the interviews in the village were low educated, muslims, militaries, medical workers and people working in