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8.7. An Assesment of the Level of Knowledge of Medical and Nursing Students on HIV/AIDS at Harran University, Sanliurfa/Turkey, and Training on Ethical Aspects of the Disease

Ayse Kaya1, Sahin Aksoy2,
Zeynep Simsek3, Hatice Ozbilge4 and Nurten AKSOY5
Harran University, School of Nursing1
Faculty of Medicine,
Department of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine2,
Department of Public Health3,
Department of Microbiology4
and Department of Biochemistry5
Harran University Saglik Yuksekokulu,
Ipekyol 63200 Sanliurfa-TURKEY
Email: ayse_kaya63@hotmail.com 

Introduction and Aims

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) was first defined in USA in 1981, and remained to be one of the most important health care problems in the world. The most frequent contamination route of HIV infection is sexual. HIV/AIDS is contaminated in various ways of sexual relation i.e. homosexual, heterosexual, vaginal, anal and oral. There is a risk of contamination in sexual activity where is a possibility of contact with blood and semen. Besides sexual contact, HIV contamination is probable with blood transfusion and perinatal transfer. While the AIDS cases reported all around the world is considered it is seen that contamination with sexual contact is more frequent compare to contamination with blood transfusion and perinatal transfer (1).

It is reported that there were 33.4 million AIDS patients in 1998, while there were 17 million AIDS patients in 1994. 13.9 million people were died from AIDS since 1981. 94% of all AIDS cases were in developing nations of which 86% is in sub-Saharan Africa, South and South-east Asia. It is also known that young people between the ages of 15-24 are under the risk of infection (1). According to the official reports there are 1141 HIV/AIDS cases (814 male, 327 female) in Turkey by the end of 2000. 364 of these are AIDS patients and 777 are carriers (2).

In this study we aimed to assess the level of knowledge of the audience of a panel organised by Harran University School of Nursing and Faculty of Medicine in December 2001, at the 'World AIDS Week Activities', and evaluate the impact of the panel on the medical and nursing students' knowledge and attitude.

Material and Methods

This study is a descriptive one conducted in December 2001. The questions regarding to demographical features of the subjects were age, gender and school. The value of every correct answer was 1 point, making 26 as full mark.

In the first part of the questionnaire there were 15 questions relating to contamination ways of AIDS i.e. touching; sharing the razor blade with AIDS patient; blood transfusion; insect biting; unprotected sexual contact; nursing an AIDS patient; swimming pools; anal sex; sharing the same room with AIDS patients and sharing the same needle with AIDS patient. Every question was asked to be answered as 'YES' or 'NO'.

There were 7 options that the students were asked to choose in the best way to protect themselves which were using condoms; avoiding from sexual relationship; avoiding blood transfusion; avoiding injection; avoiding kissing; avoiding insect biting and visiting 'holy man'.

There were 10 options to choose in the third part, which comprise questions related to attitudes against AIDS patients. The options were "I go away from him"; "I search how it contaminates"; "I stand by him to give support"; "I tell other people"; "I avoid to use his personal belongings "; "I do not take him in my group"; "I urge him to take psychological support"; "I try to inform him about his disease"; "I urge him to change his working place" and "I urge him to tell the situation to his close relatives".

The questionnaire was distributed before the panel to assess the level of the knowledge of the students about AIDS, and their attitudes against AIDS patients. The questionnaire applied after the panel was to assess the impact of the panel.

The data were analysed by using 'SPSS 10.0' statistic program. The difference between mean values is calculated with t-test, and the differences between percentages were calculated with Chi-Square test.

The Features of the Participants

93 students were participated to the study of which 38.7% were medical students and 61.3% were nursing students. Table 1 shows the mean value and standard deviations of nursing students before and after panel questionnaire on the contamination ways of AIDS and the attitudes against AIDS patients.

8.7 Table 1 8.7 Table 2

There was a significant change of attitude against AIDS patients in the option of "I avoid to use his personal belongings" after the panel. While 17.5% of the nursing students gave the right answer before the panel, this figure went up to 60.9% after the panel. (Chi-square=20.52; p=0.0001)

8.7 Table 3 8.7 Table 4

There was a significant change in the answers of medical students before and after the panel to the question of 'insect biting'. While 52.8% of the students gave the right answer, 89.1% of them gave the right answer to this question. (Chi-square=4.07; p=0.04)

In the answers of medical students there was a significant change of attitude against AIDS patients in the option of "I avoid to use his personal belongings" after the panel. While 13.9% of the nursing students gave the right answer before the panel, this figure went up to 53.8% after the panel. (Chi-square=8.24; p=0.008)

8.7 Table 5

Results and Suggestions

Nursing students took 11/15 points before panel and 14/15 points after panel on the questions regarding to contamination routes. The answers to the questions of insect biting; nursing an AIDS patient; sharing the swimming pools; anal sex; sharing the same toilet with AIDS patients and transferring the disease from pregnant woman to the baby had changed positively after the panel.

Nursing students took 7/10 points before panel and 8/10 points after panel on the questions regarding to the attitude against AIDS patients. The item of 'avoiding using the personal belongings of AIDS patient' was the main answer that had changed positively.

There was a significant change in the knowledge of protection from AIDS before and after the panel. While 7.26% of the nursing students thought the use of condom as the best way of protection, 82.6% choose this option after the panel.

Medical students took 13/15 points before panel and 15/15 points after panel on the questions regarding to contamination routes. The answers to the questions of insect biting had made the difference.

Medical students took 6.78/10 points before panel and 7.92/10 points after panel on the questions regarding to the attitude against AIDS patients. The item of 'avoiding using the personal belongings of AIDS patient' was the main answer that had changed positively.

83.3% of the medical students knew that the use of condom is the best way of protection from AIDS before the panel, 84.6% answer the question in this way after the panel.

The level of knowledge and the behaviours of the medical and nursing students who educate the public on AIDS are very important. To this aim the subject must be thought in the schools, besides organising panels and conferences. Since the biggest group who are under the risk of infection is teenagers, it is important for medical and nursing students to take part in the projects of "AIDS Education from Teenager to Teenager" (3).

References

Tumer, A. and Unal, S. HIV/AIDS Epidemiyolojisi ve Koruma Enfeksiyon Hastaliklari Serisi. (Epidemiology and Protection from HIV/AIDS: Infectious Disease Series) Vol. 2 No.4., Anakara, 1999:181-187.
Turkish Republic Ministry of Health Records, AIDS Cases and the Donors. 31 December 2000.
Aksoy, S. '21. Yuzyilin Basinda AIDS'e Iliskin Temel Etik Ilkeler' (Basic Ethical Rules on HIV/AIDS in the Beginning of 21. Century). HIVAIDS Journal 5:2 (2002):28-30.

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