HIV/AIDS knowledge and attitudes among West African immigrant women in Western Australia
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Most women who live in sub-Saharan countries have heard of HIV/AIDS, but there is still widespread misunderstanding about how HIV is spread, the consequences of infection, and how to protect against infection. The aim of the present study was to investigate knowledge about HIV and attitudes towards condom use in West African refugees who had settled in Perth, Western Australia, within the past 5 years. Methods: Knowledge about transmission of HIV, myths about how HIV is spread, incorrect beliefs about protective factors, the effectiveness of condoms in protecting against sexually transmissible infections, and attitudes towards condom use were investigated by survey in 51 West African women, and in 100 Australian women for comparison. Where possible, each West African woman was matched for age and level of education with an Australian woman. Results: Knowledge of HIV was poorest in the least educated West African women, but many of the more highly educated women also had misconceptions about how HIV is spread, how to protect against HIV, and the effectiveness of condoms in protecting against HIV. Moreover, most West African women held negative attitudes towards condom use. Within the Australian sample, HIV knowledge was greatest in women with tertiary qualifications, and was greater in younger than older women; in addition, attitudes towards condom use differed across the age span. Conclusions: The findings in the present study suggest that educational programs that focus on knowledge about HIV should be tailored to meet the needs and cultural sensitivities of newly emerging immigrant communities, and should target particular demographic groups within the Australian population.
|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Murdoch Affiliation:||School of Psychology|
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