Attitudes to HIV and HIV Testing in High Prevalence Areas of China: Informing the Introduction of Voluntary Counseling and Testing Programmes
May 23, 2005
The researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey using self-completion questionnaires to assess knowledge of and attitudes toward HIV and HIV testing among health professionals and pregnant women in Yunnan Province in southwest China. The goal of the research was to inform the introduction of voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) programs. The investigators administered the questionnaires in 12 hospitals in four high-prevalence areas of Yunnan. Health professionals completed questionnaires under examination conditions; pregnant women completed them at the routine antenatal examination.
A total of 840 pregnant women and 780 health professionals completed questionnaires. Knowledge of HIV and its modes of transmission were good in health professionals but inconsistent in pregnant women. In both groups, the weakest area was knowledge of mother-to-child transmission. Participants showed strong support for compulsory testing in pregnancy and at the premarital examination.
However, attitudes toward HIV were negative: 23 percent of health professionals and 45 percent of pregnant women thought HIV was a disease of "low class and illegal" people. Forty-eight percent of health professionals and 59 percent of pregnant women thought HIV-positive patients should not be allowed to get married, and 30 percent of health professionals were not willing to treat an HIV-positive individual. Younger health professionals and better-educated pregnant women showed higher levels of knowledge and more positive attitudes.
"Community education programmes and intensive training of health workers must precede or accompany VCT programmes," the authors concluded. "They must particularly address negative attitudes toward people with HIV. Pilot VCT programmes are now under way in two of the areas studied."
Sexually Transmitted Infections
04.05; Vol. 81: P. 108-112; T. Hesketh; L. Duo, H. Li; A.M. Tomkins
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.