An Investigation into how HIV/AIDS Information is Communicated and Perceived in Kenya: a Case of Kenyatta University
Mbua, Paul M.
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The study sought to find out how the information on HIV/AIDS is communicated to the various groups of people and in particular to the Kenyatta University Community. It sought to determine whether the information communicated is relevant, comprehensive, and sufficient on the subject of AIDS prevention and control. An attempt has been to try and establish the various sources of AIDS information available within Kenyatta University, their relevancy and adequacy in meeting the peoples' information needs on AIDS. It was also the aim of the study to find out what attitudes and perceptions people do have towards AIDS and its related information and whether this affects their search for information they would wish to get or know, but this is not being provided for. Attention has also been directed on what the university is actually doing to create this awareness to its own community. The study is carried out in the form of a case study design. The entire study population was stratified so as to ensure that every category was catered for. A sample of 500 respondents was chosen out of entire Kenyatta University population. A questionnaire containing a set of both open and closed - ended questions, covering a wide range of aspects on AIDS was administered to each of these. Descriptive statistics is used to analyze the data. From the study it was found out that level of AIDS awareness is high - but this is not without misconceptions. There is the existence of false beliefs as regards AIDS. Whereas some of the people view it as a reality, there are those who view it as being mere propaganda. Varying attitudes are exhibited by the study population - both negative and positive. These do influence the respondents search for information on the subject. The sources of information on HIV/AIDS within the university are scanty and not upto date. Lack of a good knowledge base about the phenomena is portrayed by those communicating this information - indeed their inability to effectively communicate does deter the flow of information. It was conclusively established that the university is not/has not done much in as far as educating and sensitizing its own community about the seriousness of AIDS. It is thus the recommendation of the study that the university needs to put more efforts in this regard. The need to use more appealing and persuasive communication techniques to persuade the community to change their behaviour particularly with regard to sex matters and to inform them about AIDS needs no emphasis. The university should also as a matter of urgency mount up a more aggressive AIDS awareness campaign.