Attitudes of university students towards HIV/AIDS


KaijaleenaSerlo Vikionkuja 3B6, 90650 Oulu, Finland.


Attitudes of university students towards HIV/AIDS¶ The purpose of this study was to assess, in one university in Finland, students' attitudes and feelings towards HIV/AIDS while they were studying for their first year at the University of Oulu. This study is part of a larger research project concerning HIV/AIDS in the Department of Nursing at the University of Oulu. The results can be used in planning and implementing health education for young people. The data were collected by using a questionnaire with both structured and open-ended questions. The study group consisted of 245 students who had started their studies in the autumn of 1993. The data were analysed by using cross tabulation (chi-square test) and inductively by content analysis. The most important source of knowledge concerning HIV/AIDS was television (84%) and 30% of the students had obtained their knowledge from a school nurse. Even when there was a lot of knowledge available to the students, they estimated their knowledge as insufficient and defined HIV more correctly than AIDS. Knowledge did not increase the use of safe sex but limited sexual behaviour. Religion had an importance for sexual behaviour. Female students were more sexually active than male students. The feelings towards HIV/AIDS were more often negative than positive or neutral and the students felt stronger negative feelings towards AIDS than HIV. The negative feelings were often based on fear. The differences between the faculties were minimal.