Arch Hellen Med, 27(4), July-August 2010, 669-674
Knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases: Do students of healthcare departments know more?
S. CHATZIMIHAILIDOU,1 E. PANAGOPOULOU,2,3 D. NIAKAS3
OBJECTIVE The comparison of the level of knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) between students of health faculties and other faculties.
METHOD In Thessaloniki, 287 students of various faculties, health and nonhealth- related, participated in this study. The age of the participants was between 18 and 35 years. The questionnaire selected for the study was designed by Benos, Kavaka and Panagopoulou and covered knowledge and attitudes.
RESULTS Referring to knowledge concerning which diseases are transmitted through sexual intercourse, the comparison between the two groups showed significant statistical difference between the two groups, with better levels of knowledge in the students of health faculties about hepatitis A (P=0.000), hepatitis C (P=0.000) and tuberculosis (P=0.001). Concerning the transmission of AIDS and hepatitis B, the majority of the students of health faculties believe that the transmission can be through sputum and less from insects. Regarding knowledge about what protection against AIDS means, the option of condom use was considered as correct by 97.7% of the students questioned, and 96.5% of the students also believed it to be the right option for protection against hepatitis B. Concerning ways of protection against AIDS, comparison between the two groups showed significant statistical differences in the parameters "to urinate after sex" (x2=10.270, P=0.006) and vaccination use (x2=6.831, P=0.033), and against hepatitis B in the parameters "to urinate after sex" (x2=21.784, P=0.001) and vaccination use (x2=12.591, P=0.002). Finally, 97.8% of the students considered condom use to be the most efficient method of protection against AIDS and hepatitis B.
CONCLUSIONS Although the vast majority of students questioned appeared to understand the methods of transmission and protection against STDs, the level of knowledge was not satisfactory, particularly among students from non-health-related faculties. Ambiguity continues to prevail even among female students in the health faculty. Although the information and protection strategies appear to be efficient, based on the answers concerning condom use, it is obvious that these strategies alone are insufficient to cover the ignorance and contradictions reflected in the answers to the questionnaire. It is important, therefore to adjust the campaigns and prevention programs directed to students in order for their needs for valid knowledge to be satisfied.
Key words: AIDS, Hepatitis B, Knowledge, Sexually transmitted disease, Students.