Comparison of knowledge and attitudes on HIV between HV infected and HIV-uninfected children aged 10 - 14 in South Africa, 2012

Mapfumo, Abel Musha
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Background About 90% of the children under the age of 15 living with HIV worldwide were infected through vertical transmission. In 2017 there were approximately 7.9 million people living with HIV in South Africa, and 262 000 of these were children under the age of 15 years (Simbayi et al., 2019). Research has shown that the majority of infected children did not know much about HIV as family members would conceal their status for fear of stigmatisation. It is believed lack of HIV/AIDS knowledge in children increases fear of infection, resulting in them developing negative attitudes towards people living with HIV. Methodology The primary study was a multistage cross-sectional survey carried out by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in South Africa in 2012. A stratified multistage survey was conducted in all the 9 provinces of South Africa. Stratification was by province and geotype of the enumeration area (EA). The primary sampling units were the EAs and the secondary sampling units (SSUs) were the visiting points (VPs) or households. Of the 15000 households that were selected, 11079 agreed to take part in the survey, and 38431 individuals were interviewed. Of those who were interviewed, 28 997 agreed to be tested for HIV. A total of 4520 children between the ages of 10 and 14 inclusive participated in the survey. Of the 2793 children who provided a blood specimen, 2725 tested negative for HIV and 68 tested positive. This research project involved secondary data analyses of the 10 to 14 year olds from the HSRC survey data. Results There was no significant association between knowledge on HIV/AIDS and HIV status, neither was there association between attitudes towards PLHIV and HIV status. Age and exposure to media were positively associated with knowledge. There was a positive association between media exposure and attitude scores (p<0.001). Attitudes were significantly more positive among females (p =0.05). Conclusion There was no significant difference in knowledge on HIV/AIDS between infected and uninfected children, neither did HIV infected and uninfected children differ in their attitudes towards PLHIV. Schools could do more to help increase HIV knowledge in South African children.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Epidemiology (Biostatistics) to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2020