Objective : To investigate the prevalence and determinants of student and parental attitudes toward the education of children affected by HIV/AIDS in areas of rural China where AIDS is prevalent.
Methods : A cross-sectional study of a random sample of students (n=732) and their parents (n=732) conducted in April 2010, using a questionnaire and in-depth interview.
Results : Twenty-six per cent of students and 29% of parents had a ‘good’ attitude toward the education of children affected by HIV/AIDS. Following adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, students’ attitudes were significantly associated with knowledge of HIV/AIDS non-transmission (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]= 3.13) and their parents’ attitudes (aOR= 2.38), but not with knowledge of HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention or their parents’ knowledge. Parents’ attitudes were significantly associated with knowledge of HIV/AIDS non-transmission (aOR= 2.12) and their children's attitudes (aOR= 2.52), but not with knowledge of HIV/AIDS transmission, prevention or their children's knowledge.
Conclusion : Stigma and discrimination undermine the right to education of HIV/AIDS-affected children in rural China. Improving non-transmission knowledge may improve caring attitudes.
Implications : HIV/AIDS public health educational campaigns highlighting non-transmission and extending family education, combined with school education, may help to enhance an environment of non-discrimination and safeguard public support programs for the right to education of children affected by HIV/AIDS.