Primary school adolescents' HIV/ AIDS knowledge levels and their perceptions of risk in Nakuru municipality, Kenya
Aloya, Margaret Lunani
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This study investigated knowledge of HIV/AIDS and perceptions of risk among primary school pupils of Nakuru municipality. An HIVIAIDS knowledge and attitude questionnaire was used to collect data from the pupils. The pupils' demographic variable of sex was considered in the interpretation of the results. The population consisted of primary school adolescents aged between thirteen and fifteen years. Responses were received from 240 respondents (120 boys and 120 girls) from fifteen primary schools in Nakuru municipality randomly selected to participate in this study. The HIV/AIDS knowledge and HIV/AIDS attitude questionnaires were used to collect data. The data collected in this study was analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). Means and frequencies were used in descriptive statistics while the Pearson product moment correlation coefficient and the t-test were used in inferential statistics. The findings of this study indicate that though the pupils were highly knowledgeable with regard to HIV/AIDS transmission routes, risk factors and risk reduction methods, they had a lot of misconceptions. A significant majority of the pupils did not perceive themselves to be at risk of HIV/AIDS infection. The findings also indicate that there was a significant negative relationship between knowledge of HIV/AIDS and the perceptions of risk of the pupils. High knowledge levels did not translate to high perceptions of risk. There were also no significant sex differences among the pupils with regard to their knowledge of HIV-AIDS transmission, risk factors, risk reduction methods and their perceptions of risk. These findings indicate that though the HIVIAIDS syllabus has been implemented in schools, the education programme has not been effective in clearing misconceptions regarding the pandemic. Besides it has not had any significant effect on the pupils' perceptions of risk of HIV/AIDS infection. Recommendations were therefore made for counsellors, teachers and education planners to provide effective education programmes to the pupils with a view to imparting correct knowledge about the pandemic while addressing the misconceptions and guiding them to develop a high perception of risk.