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Abstract

A telephone survey was used to assess knowledge of the transmission, prevalence, and infectivity of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and the safety of casual contact among 214 randomly selected university students. Males were more knowledgeable than females overall (odds ratio [OR], men/women = 4.8). Although most students understood the dangers of unprotected sex and intravenous needle sharing, up to 30% believed some kinds of casual contact (e.g., shared eating utensils) can transmit AIDS. Older students (≥ 23 yrs) were more knowledgeable than those 17 to 19 years old about the safety of casual contact (OR = 3.8). Students are in need of education programs that stress the ways AIDS is not transmitted. Since most students identified newspapers and television as their main sources of information, these may be effective vehicles for education efforts.