Knowledge, attitude and practice of medical students towards HIV patients in their pre-clinical and postclinical years in Karachi, Pakistan: A dual-center cross-sectional study

Simran Batra, Zahid Ali Memon, Rohan Kumar Ochani, Sana Awan, Simran Bhimani, Yumna Siddiqui, Ashar Mohiuddin, Hamza Ahmed Farooqi

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5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is currently a global threat with an estimated 38.6 million people affected with HIV worldwide. According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), since 2004 the total number of cases of HIV in Pakistan has risen from 2700 to 130,000. In light of the rising burden of HIV/AIDS across the country, it is essential that medical students possess appropriate knowledge regarding the subject. Therefore, we aimed to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of medical students towards HIV patients in their pre-clinical and post-clinical years in Karachi, Pakistan. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 518 pre-clinical (year 1 and 2) and post-clinical (year 3, 4, and 5) medical students from two medical schools in Karachi during the months of October-December 2019. Similar numbers of participants were taken from each year. Data were analyzed using SPSS. Descriptive statistics were used to report frequencies and proportions for categorical responses. Chi-square and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used as the primary statistical tests. About 55% of participants were female, and most belonged to the Islamic faith. More than half of the participants learned about HIV from books (315/518), followed by medical personnel (287/518). A quarter (134/518) of the participants believed HIV could be transmitted by sharing saliva, more than half of whom consisted of pre-clinical year students. Over half the participants (60.4%) knew that there was a difference between HIV and AIDs, most of whom belonged to the 5th year group. When detecting HIV, only about 30% of participants knew about indirect fluorescent antibody. Regarding attitudes, one-third would not be friends with a person diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. As a medical officer, a large majority (76.6%; n=397/518) of the participants would be anxious or somewhat anxious. Two-thirds believed that treating an HIV patient can make them contract HIV, and a majority of participants (333/518) did not feel adequately prepared to deal with the psycho-social problems of an HIV/AIDS patient. Finally, regarding practice, only one-third of the participants were willing to treat an HIV/AIDS patient, most of whom belonged to the pre-clinical 2nd year group and fewer to the post-clinical 3rd year group. Knowledge amongst medical students regarding HIV/AIDS was generally high, although there are some knowledge inadequacies which require more emphasis in the medical school curriculum. However, contrasting with the level of knowledge, in terms of attitude the majority were anxious or somewhat anxious when treating an HIV patient, and only one-third were willing to treat a patient with HIV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-237
Number of pages7
JournalInfezioni in Medicina
Volume28
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Infectious diseases
  • Medical students

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