Demographic characteristics of the sample are presented in . Slightly more than half of the participants (55.5%) were female. Approximately 24% of the participants were 30 years old or younger and 38.2% were 41 years old or older. The majority or 86.4%, of the participants were married, and about 46.5% had primary school education or no formal schooling. Two-thirds of the sample reported having discretionary money of 500 Yuan ($66.67) or less per month.
Description of study sample (n=3,716)
shows patterns of HIV/STD information sources and participants' most trusted source. All of the study participants had heard of HIV/STD. The majority of the sample (77.4%) reported getting HIV/STD information from TV programs, followed by publications (54.8%), friends or relatives (26.5%), radio broadcast (22.9%), service providers (21.2%), posters (18.0%), and other sources (10.5%). With respect to participants' most trusted source, TV was ranked at the top (70.6%), followed by publications (49.1%), service providers (36.1%), and radio (19.6%). In comparing the responses to the two parallel questions, it is worth noting that over 36% of participants reported trusting service providers as a source of HIV/STD information, while only 21.2% reported actually getting the information from service providers. Contrastingly, while 16% of respondents reported trusting friends or relatives as a source of information, a higher proportion (26.5%) reported actually getting information from them.
HIV/STD information sources, HIV transmission knowledge, and HIV/AIDS related events awareness
Slightly more than 64% of the sample reported receiving HIV/STD information from more than one source. Among them, about 48% obtained information from both mass media and interpersonal sources, and 51.2% relied solely on various forms of mass media sources, but no interpersonal sources. Taken together, almost all respondents (99.2%) who reported multiple sources had depended on at least one form of mass media. This finding has highlighted the relationships between mass media exposure and access to HIV/STD related information. Since about a half of those who reported multiple channels include both mass media and interpersonal sources, we anticipate the possibility that mass media exposure and interpersonal communications facilitate each other in disseminating HIV/STD information.
Being able to identify an HIV/AIDS spokesperson was an alternative way to assess mass media exposure to HIV information. Among the 3,716 participants in this study, only about one-quarter (24.8%) correctly named at least one HIV/AIDS spokesperson. Approximately 37% of the participants reported that they knew that Premier Minister Wen Jiabao visited PLWHA in a hospital. Nearly 38% of the sample reported accurate knowledge on HIV transmission.
Correlation coefficients among the selected variables are reported in . Young age (r = .22, P < .0001), better education (r = .40, P < .0001) and having more discretionary money (r = .11, P < .0001) were positively associated with reports of multiple sources of HIV/STD information. Being female (r =- .15, P < .0001) and being currently married (r = -.14, P < .0001) were negatively associated with having multiple information sources. Those who reported multiple sources of HIV/STD information were more likely to correctly answer HIV transmission knowledge questions (r = .26, P < .0001), to be aware of the premier minister's visit with PLWHA (r = .31, P < .0001), and to correctly identify an HIV/AIDS spokesperson (r = .28, P < .0001). Moreover, HIV related stigma was significantly negatively associated with multiple sources of HIV/STD information (r = -.35, P < .0001), correctly identifying a spokesperson (r = -.39, P < .0001), and awareness of the Premier Minister's visit with PLWHA (r = -.34, P < .0001). Those participants who reported having multiple HIV/STD information sources, ability to correctly identify an HIV/AIDS spokesperson, or awareness of the Premier Minister's visit with PLWHA were likely to be associated with a low level of stigmatizing attitude towards PLWHA.
Correlation coefficients and significance level among selected variables
The results of multiple regression analyses are presented in . Logistic regression of HIV transmission knowledge showed that, after controlling for potential confounders, having multiple HIV/STD information sources was an important predictor for accurate HIV transmission knowledge (AOR=1.92, p<0.0001). Similarly, use of multiple sources of HIV/STD information was also significantly related to being able to correctly name an HIV/AIDS spokesperson (AOR=2.83, p<0.0001). As for other predictors, education, having more discretionary money, and being married were also positively related to the ability to name a spokesperson correctly.
The association between mass media exposure, HIV transmission knowledge, and HIV related stigma, controlling for potential confounders
The third column of summarizes findings from regression of HIV related stigmatizing attitude towards PLWHA. Females (b =1.49, p<0.0001) and older people (b =.14, p<0.0001) were associated with a higher level of stigmatizing attitude towards PLWHA. Education (b =-.27, p<0.0001), multiple sources of HIV/STD information (b =-1.83, p<0.0001), being able to name a spokesperson (b=-3.11, p<0.0001), and HIV transmission knowledge (b =-5.47, p<0.0001) remained negatively associated with stigmatizing attitude towards PLWHA, while other variables were held constant.