The general aim of this study was to evaluate the knowledge and practice levels of staffs of women’s beauty salons in Isfahan about the transmission routes and prevention of AIDS, and hepatitis B and C in 2010-2011. These infections are transmitted through body fluids, such as blood (10
). During haircut, shave, or pedicure, barbers may accidentally expose to their clients’ blood (11
); however, prevalence of HBsAg positive and anti-HCVAb are similar to general population (16
). Moreover, we analyzed the relationship between knowledge and practice levels in one hand, and job history, education level, and city district in which the staffs work, in other hand. Although hairdressers include a small portion of Isfahan citizens, they belong to the young and dynamic class of the community. Therefore, they are considered as one of the most important groups with regard to their knowledge and practice about transmittable diseases. This study revealed the need to improvement of specific health messages in media campaigns carried out to general population, diffusing more appropriate educational materials for salons, and organizing obligatory update courses for hairdressing sector (18
). In this study the mean job history of participants was 5.88 ± 5.39 years. If we consider 25 years as minimum job history required for retirement in Iran, it is necessary to improve knowledge and practice levels of target population about these three diseases.
With respect to the education level, 14.2 %, 77.1 %, and 8.6 % obtained below-high-school diploma, high school diploma, and academic education level, respectively. In Iran, high school diploma is considered as the end of non-academic education period, therefore it seems that the participants were in a good education level. The mean score obtained on knowledge about the three diseases was 14.05 ± 2.25. Thus, the target group had an intermediate level of knowledge about the diseases, which was not unexpected with regard to education level, job history, and particularly the type of their job. In a study carried out in 2005 on 240 soldiers who entered a military training center in southeast of Iran for passing preliminary military trainings, it was reported that their mean knowledge level was intermediate (19
). In another study carried out in Vietnam among 345 men in 2005 on their knowledge level about hepatitis B, only 46 % knew that the virus is not transmitted through foods (19
). In our study, among 240 hairdressers, only 47.5 % knew that common eating tools and food are not the transmission routes of HIV. Therefore, it can be concluded that the knowledge level in our country is almost similar to that in Vietnam in this regard. In a study carried out in Isfahan high schools to determine knowledge level of students about AIDS and its prevention methods, this level was intermediate (20
). If we suppose that the future hairdressers of the city roots in these students, tomorrow knowledge level of this profession would be the same. So, we must carry out programs to improve their knowledge level. In a study fulfilled in Kerman about HIV in 2004-2005, the knowledge and attitude of 164 male and female hairdressers of the city about HIV and AIDS were evaluated. The mean knowledge score of the hairdressers was determined to be 11.1 ± 2.9 (21
). Their mean job history was 11.7 ± 9.7 years and 47.6 % of the participants had high school diploma. Moreover, according to the responds of hairdressers, 84.1 % of target group employed their own personal shaving and hairdressing tools. The rate in our study was 10.4 %. In the study mentioned above, 66.8 % of participants considered using razors in the barbershops as the most important tool of AIDS transmission. The rate in our study was obtained to be 97.1 %. Also, they reported that the hairdressers’ knowledge level was intermediate, which was not desirable. In a study performed in Yazd on 140 hairdressers, 24 % of target group (hairdressers) and 19 % of control group (the clients) exhibited a good level of knowledge about hepatitis B in the pre-test (22
). In a study carried out in Ankara on 96 female hairdressers, it was shown that they had little information about HIV prevalence and route of transmission (23
). In another study conducted in Pakistan, the level of awareness among barbers about hepatitis disease and risks of transmission was very low, and their practice of razor reuse that may spread hepatitis disease was very common (24
). In recent years, the interest in improving the knowledge about AIDS and other infectious diseases have increased, and people are eager to get more appropriate information about the diseases. Since hepatitis B and C, and AIDS are considered as more critical diseases, the population is more willing to learn more about them, and this is the responsibility of the health system and mass media to promote population’s knowledge level. We obtained promising results about the knowledge and practice levels of the staffs of women’s beauty salons in Isfahan about AIDS, and hepatitis B and C. However, the results should be carefully analyzed. Presence of confounding variables such as unnatural behaviors of hairdressers due to the presence of raters, high number of unregistered hairdressers working in women’s beauty salons of Isfahan, and high number of hairdressers who were not willing to attend the workshop without mentioning any particular reason are the items which should be considered in interpretation of the results. However, in spite of all limitations and confounding factors, we are optimistic about the findings, but because the important role of barbers in virus transmission, we should provide the best program for control, evaluation and continuous teaching.