In the study in the rural area in Tamil Nadu, only 26 % were aware of the sexual transmission (18).
Our study showed that 17.2% of the students in the village and 23.2% of the students in the city didn’t know that HIV can be spread from mother to child during breast feeding. The same trend was seen in the study among the pregnant women in Maharastra where 17% didn’t know about breast feeding as a way of transmission (25).
In our study, 36.9% of the students in the village and 31.9% of the students in the city thought that HIV can be spread through kisses. The study done in Himachal Pradesh showed that 45% of the students had the misconception that HIV can be transmitted by kissing (19). In our survey, 93% of the students in the city and 74% in the village said that there are ways to protect against HIV. When comparing our results with the results from the Karnataka study among men in rural India (20), where only 50% said that there are ways for protection, we see that the students have a higher awareness about protection. Even though the results in our study show that many of the students know that you can protect against HIV, the percentages don’t tell us if they know the proper ways for protection. During the personal interviews some misconceptions about protection against HIV came up. For example, eight students in the city and eight students in the village answered that having only one sexual partner is a way to protect against the infection. Other ways of protection that were mentioned during the interviews was: not to have sex before marriage, keep HIV infected persons outside society and keep water and environment clean. It is utterly important that everybody knows that you can protect against the infection but it’s of the same importance that you know how to protect.
Private life The headmasters in the rural area didn’t allow us to include the questions about private life in the questionnaires, since they found them too personal. They were afraid that the parents might get angry if such questions were discussed in school. This shows their conservative way of looking at issues like sex and relations. The school is an important source of information for young people and if the headmasters of the school don’t allow education or discussions about sex it’s hard for the students to get proper information about that subject.
44% of the students in the city would like to test themselves for HIV and 35% wouldn’t. We don’t know their reasons for wanting or not wanting to do the test. The students that wouldn’t like to test themselves, do they “know” that they aren’t infected or are they afraid of getting the result? In the personal interviews we found out that some students in the village have been tested for HIV but no student in the city has done that test. More than half of the students in both the village and city would like to test themselves for HIV, but many of them don’t know where to do the test. To prevent the further spread of HIV it’s important that everybody know where they can have the HIV test done. In many places in India you have to pay for the HIV test. Since many people are poor, free HIV testing would be a strategy to make more people test themselves.
83% of the students wouldn’t like to have children if they got infected with HIV, while 4% would like to have children even if they were found to have the infection. It’s interesting that all the students that said that they would like to have children even if they were infected, answered in the questionnaire that HIV can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy or delivery and through breast feeding. One can find it hard to understand that they